Labour leader Ed Miliband provoked anger by repeatedly arguing that the strikes were “wrong at a time when negotiations are still going on”.
Miliband was so desperate to make the point that in one bizarre TV interview he repeated these exact words five times, in answer to every question put to him.
His condemnation of the strikes was met by anger across the labour movement.
Mary Bousted, ATL general secretary, summed up the mood.
“The response of Ed Miliband has been a disgrace—he should be ashamed of himself,” she said at the London strike rally at Westminster Central Hall.
“If our strike is a mistake, what has he done to oppose this devastating attack on our pensions? If the opposition will not defend our pensions, we will.”
Jean Clement, a striking PCS member in Islington, north London, said, “I am shocked at the Labour Party condemning the strikes.
“The unions have supported Labour all this time—let’s withdraw our money and support.”
Many Labour supporters were angry.
A YouGov poll found that 47 percent of Labour voters thought Miliband handled the strikes badly, compared to only 24 percent who thought he handled them well.
The poll also found that 70 percent of Labour voters thought unions acted “reasonably” in the strike.