Our right to strike?

23 Jun

I didn’t beome a teacher and demand a decent pension and the holidays and all the other ‘perks’ non teachers think I get.

I came into teaching because I wanted to help children and young people develop. I wanted to give them what my best teachers gave me – confidence; a passion; an education.

Presumably people in the Private Sector didn’t go into their jobs whinging that the Public Sector had it better than them? If they did, perhaps they should have chosen a career in the Public Sector?

We go into jobs that best fit our personalities and interests, don’t we? Generally speaking. Yes of course there are those who make a beeline directly to the big bucks jobs, but generally it’s job satisfaction that we all crave?

So please stop bashing teachers [and all the other public sector workers who choose to strike].

Yes it is bloody inconvenient. But I don’t think it’s about being greedy. It’s about having a voice, an opinion heard.

The people who say it is pointless to strike are in the same group as those who say it is pointless to vote IMO. We live in a democracy where we are entitled to express our opinions and strike to show our strength of feeling. We should protect people’s right to strike or demonstrate surely?

Having said all that, I am in NASUWT who are choosing not to strike whilst negotiations are still taking place. So few voted to strike within the NUT I do question its validity. But, in these times of austerity we are ALL feeling it and we should all be pulling together and helping each other. Instead people are beginning to turn against each other screaming, “I’ve got it worse than you, you should think yourself lucky”. Unless we walk a mile in their shoes we don’t know what the finances of our friends, neighbours or colleagues are like. They may look ‘better off’ than you but we just don’t know. And really, it’s none of our business!

I worry that we are becoming increasingly self obsessed and harnassing an ‘I’m-alright-Jack’ kind of attitude. Is this what we are becoming? A society only concerned with what the individual can get for themselves?

I feel heartened by the fact that Unions are still taking action [tho’ in this case I don’t particularly agree that it is the right action] – it reminds us that there are still groups of people out there who will give up a day’s pay and fight to protect the rights of the individual.

However inconvenient that day of striking may be to the rest of us.

Update as if 29 Nov 2011 – tomorrow I will be on strike. It’s not just about pensions. It’s about teachers being able to teach rather than get engulfed in pointless paperwork. I may blog more about the issues in education at a later date!

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2 Responses to “Our right to strike?”

  1. Lottie June 23, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    I had a heated discussion with a friend on Twitter, a friend who’s a nurse yet is an avid and thus lacking in sense Tory supporter with unsurprisingly narrow views (grrr). I personally believe that the right to strike is integral for our democratic society and important to ensure that change can be brought about by the masses. People today are often anti Unions and as a result anti striking, due to us becoming increasingly capitalist. People forget that many of the rights and priviledges they now enjoy in many working environments is largely down to the historical changes pushed for by Unions and through striking workers. The most simple change I can think of off the top of my head is the safety policies most of us benefit from in working environments. The basic human right to safety in the workplace has come about because of the protests and work of unions in the manufacturing industry in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.

    Teachers have every right to fight for their pension rights. We all know that there is not enough in the pot to fund pensions as people were originally promised but we also know that a compromise which will benefit those missing out (in this case the teachers) will only come about if they fight for it.

    As for the whiners that don’t like the inconvenience this causes them they should be grateful that teachers have the presence of mind and wherewithall to defend and look after themselves as this in part is what makes them the fantastic influence they are on our children today. Over here (US) people rarely strike they just work to rule, including time. Oh my goodness, can you imagine if UK teachers worked to rule? Many people have no idea how much extra teachers put into their jobs. Supporting them in a one day strike is the least we can do for them.

    • howwelaughed June 23, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      Thanks very much for your comments, Lottie. You’re absolutely right re the working conditions we currently enjoy. People are too quick to forget we have them because people were ‘incovenienced’ by strikes in our very recent history!

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