“ Your views on Industrial Action „
I will first state for the record before anyone slates me, I am a qualified teacher. I worked in the profession between 2002 and 2009, and officially I am on a career break, though unofficially I am not likely to return to the job at any time soon. That probably does influence my opinion in that I am aware of what it is like to do that job well, and I am likely to be affected by it in my thought process.
Firstly, being able to strike is a freedom of speech that I do agree with. I believe that if the majority do feel aggrieved by a situation, then they should be able to do something about it. I have no problem with people stating their case, but I do have a problem if this ends in violence such as student protests we have seen in London recently. Sometimes extremists get involved who have nothing to do with the original problem. They are just there to cause a bit of trouble, and this helps no-one.
Striking is by no means new, and it has been used in the past by groups of workers to try and influence what happens. The most famous of which being the Miners strike of 1984.
This was a strike that was a great personal cost to the individuals involved and their families. My dad, and both grandads were miners. We lived in a mining village. The mine in our village had workers on strike, but my dad worked in the next county. His pit was not on strike. However, he had to strike as well because if he had not, we would have been completely ostracised in the community he was born into, and we would have had to move.
The miners in our village had privileges that were provided by the Miner's Welfare club in our village, but because my dad did not work in our village, we were not able to access these things. Little things like a little Christmas party and stocking for all the disadvantaged kids who had father's out of work. Not the end of the world, but that was one of the toughest years ever financially on my parents, and they would have helped if all were treat equally.
After having that experience aged 5, I wasn't sure that I agreed with striking that much as I didn't see it achieved very much for the individuals, but was more an activity to promote the Union leaders. Arthur Scargill didn't have the best interests of the miners at heart.
When I first qualified to teach, my Dad advised me to join the National Union of Teacher's (NUT) as in his opinion, they were the most likely to back up their workers by use of strike action if necessary. I was a little unsure at 22, so I went with his suggestion. Before I even started teaching, they were out on their first strike.
Instead of being on the picket line, I found myself at the house of one of my new work colleagues, alongside the other members of my department. We were working all day on schemes of work that were to be put in place the following year.
Over the years I worked, there were a couple more strikes, and I imagined that we would be stood on a picket line, protesting at what our issue was. Instead I found myself at home, doing not very much.
The only thing I was really achieving was annoying the parents of the kids I was teaching at the time, and catching up on a bit of work while at home. The only positive I could see was these strikes usually occurred in the Summer after exams had taken place, so they were not affecting any child who was about to sit an exam in my subject.
The strike by teachers and other public sector workers last week had me on the other side of the fence. Now I was one of those parents whose child could not attend school because the teachers were striking.
The news bulletins had me in outrage to be honest. There were lots of parents who were complaining outrageously about having to provide childcare for their own child. Heaven forbid that these teachers dare to strike and not provide a child minding service for their child that day.
I saw many comments on facebook along the same line. I had to miss work. I had to take my child to work with me. While I was very sympathetic to this where the parent had no other option, I felt a lot of these parents missed the point that what their child was missing was a day of education.
While I am obviously looking at this from the front line of the chalk face, please read my points before you judge them.
In the public sector, there are probably a number of people who do not have sufficient work to keep them occupied in the working day. These are most often the pen pushing folks in management. The ones based at Council House, who have time to have a coffee break, to have a chat at the water fountain, to check facebook during the working day.
My experience of teaching was that I was in a very demanding school environment. Between 8am and 5pm I would be in school, and I would be teaching, planning, marking, dealing with children, contacting parents, getting my room equipped ready for the next lesson. I barely had time to eat lunch one handed while marking, let alone a toilet trip, or a chat to pass the time with a colleague.
I would work an extra three or four hours every night without fail, and would often be so tired I would not remember how I drove to school. Woe betide if my children dared to be ill, or not go to bed at the allotted time, as I would then have to add this time on to my prep and not get the sleep needed to teach 30 kids per lesson, 5 hours per day.
But what about all those wonderful holidays? Well firstly, I would get ill the second the pressure was off, and then I would have my children in nursery for at least 60% of the holidays while I went into school to do preparation for the next term in the vain hope that I might finally have what is known as the work/life balance.
And the holiday I so desperately needed was an unaffordable luxury because my wages went on childcare, and the cost of a holiday in school holiday time was beyond our reach financially.
I might sound like I am exaggerating, but that was my life until I reached burnout point, and I took the decision to step away. Before that I had been seriously thinking to myself how do I keep this relentless pace up until 60.
Within my department, 4 of my colleagues had just taken early retirement. One discovered within months he had terminal cancer, and he died about a year after that.
The fact is, teaching is a demanding job. The stress of performing to OFSTED standards all the time was stressful enough, but add on parents who come in to school threatening to hit teachers, splitting up fights all the time, and pupils acting in a threatening manner to teachers, and I can tell you for definite that this is a young persons game and not for those in their late 60s.
If we want the best education for our young people, we should be backing teachers in taking redundancy before they get jaded and unable to do it. We want our youngsters to be inspired and energised, and not bored by someone ticking off days.
I am equally sure a nearly 70 year old would find it physically hard to lift a patient or stop a prisoner from rioting. Maybe I am ageist, but I feel with good reason.
This country is no doubt in financial crisis. We have had a Bank of England Base Rate of 0.5% for over 2 years because raising it would lead to many lower income families being crippled by the costs. Inflation is high. The news scares me when I watch it with long standing businesses like Carpet Right, Thorntons, HMV, Dolphin and Moben all having great difficulties. There are great problems for private sector jobs too, and I do have every sympathy for those facing redundancy.
The problem though is not with the public sector workers.
Did a teacher, ambulance worker, doctor, policeman or nurse ever crash the stock market? Did they ever get a performance related bonus of billions? Did they ever get any kind of bonus without it being reported to the tax man and contributing back into the country? I don't remember any of these events either.
So the fact is, if you don't want this country to fall even further behind than we already are, I do think we need to support our public sector workers.
In these hard times with cut after cut, we are not all bleeding equally. I think we do need to support strikes, as otherwise we might as well live under a Dictator with no freedom to speak. Then where would we be?
Yes I do support the public sector strikes!
Before I start, I better say that I am an ex-teacher so I am slightly biased in my views. I had to get out of the classroom through stress as a result of my school (inner city, 90% free school meals) being in Special Measures. Incidentally the school was taken out of Special Measures after a number of years and got the worst results ever that year. I am convinced that Ofsted is a 'jobs for the boys' system that has to justify its existence and achieves no improvement in education at all.
The majority of teachers do far more for children than their job requires them to do (extra lessons, revision lessons, after school clubs, driving and coaching sports teams, emotional support, counselling etc). So it is very hurtful that parents and the general public attack teachers over their pension and conditions of service .Maybe teachers should stop doing the unpaid extras and see if people prefer that but once again this would probably be seen as part of the job expected from teachers and any withdrawal of this would be seen in a negative light.
As a teacher, every single item I bought for my classroom that was not supplied by the school was paid for by me. If I wanted to claim the money back I had to pay for the item with cash not credit card (I might get some sort of benefit from using my credit card). I could not do any other shopping on the same receipt which meant if I was doing some cooking at school I couldn't just get the few bits with my grocery shop , I had to separate it all out. In the end it was so much hassle that I just paid for the stuff myself or didn't bother doing the activity if it proved too costly. Contrast this with the MPs' claims of recent years.
I rarely got a dinner break and many of the so called long holidays I spent back at school planning and sorting for the next term. Another problem teachers and those who work in schools have is that holiday prices go up in school holidays and unlike many parents we can't just take off a couple of days early so all our holidays are expensive, it is impossible to avoid that.
The public sector has taken a huge hit since the recent financial crisis. Earlier this year on one day alone there were 400 job cuts in Derby City Council. The area where I worked latterly, 'Education of Looked After Children' now no longer exists as a separate section so these children will have their problems dealt with like anyone else despite the fact that their lives are so very different in many ways.
Can someone please explain to me why when a bank or a car manufacturing company gets into trouble the taxpayer is expected to bail them out even though they are private companies? Public servants are doing excellent jobs, often life saving, often thankless, often made scapegoats and yet this is the area which is being hit with cut backs. Public servants are often not well paid and contribute a percentage of this salary into a pension pot. This secure pension is some comfort after a number of years working in a job with fairly limited benefits otherwise.
When have you ever heard of the dinner ladies receiving a bonus for serving meals on time all year? Did you ever hear about the school crossing patrol officer receiving an annual bonus for turning up come rain, hail or snow every day in the year to help children cross the road? I can't remember having a Christmas Party paid for by the school for the staff, I have never worked in a school where coffee and biscuits were supplied by the school. My friends and relatives who work in the private sector have free coffee and snacks provided, they have a Christmas bonus and they often have a 'jolly' paid for by the company too. I shan't mention specific companies but one relative has a paid jolly annually on which he may be accompanied by his wife. In recent times they have been to Istanbul for a few days and to South Africa for the World Cup football..
To give an indication of how appalling the bonus system is consider the case of the Student Loans Company. This company, a private business, makes big money from the interest on loans given to help students pursue their studies. It made a complete mess of things recently and yet at the end of the year employees still received bonuses. Extra pay for poor performance - it would be comical if it were not so sickening.
"Figures released under the Freedom of Information act showed that SLC staff were given bonuses totalling £1,893,500 in 2008-09.
Three bosses received £21,000 bonuses, while two got payouts of £15,000 and five were given £10,000.
Some 1,603 of the SLC's 1,876 staff picked up rewards." Taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/nov/16/student-loans-company-bonuses
The strike held recently caused such a lot of fuss because it meant that some people were inconvenienced. Singled out for particular criticism were indeed the teachers. Parents had to find child care for their children. What do they do if their children are ill? Hopefully not send them to school. They had plenty of warning that this strike might take place so they should have been able to organise something. School is NOT a child minding service. Schools are there to educate children and the majority do a very good job too, despite what the press might have you believe. When other workers go on strike (such as London Underground for example) people don't seem to want to comment on their pay/conditions/pensions in the same way? The fact is that those who moan do so only because they have been a little put out.
People have commented that for a strike to be successful you need to have public support. It is very difficult to have public support when every single day in the press you read about something negative in schools, in hospitals or done by social workers. You never read about the patient whose life has been saved by a doctor, you never hear about the child whose life has been turned around by a social worker. Despite often being on the receiving end of abuse the social worker, the firefighter, the police officer, will continue to provide a service to the public. Doesn't this count for anything?
I fully realise that the country is in a mess. This has come about largely through greed in the private sector, principally in banking and by government mismanagement. The mess is NOT the fault of the public sector. Teachers, nurses, job centre staff etc had nothing to do with this crisis. Okay so the country is in dire straits so we need to cut back. How do we do this and who has to suffer? Obviously not the MPs who are managing to maintain their benefits and perks in full, although since recent revelations they might have to think more carefully about expenses claims. We can't possibly tax the banks and ask them to pay their bonuses into the coffers as they are private (even those we rescued at huge expense) and if we tax them too hard they will go elsewhere. Surely they can't all go elsewhere so why can't they be taxed a bit more? Cut back on the public sector, that's what we'll do. Okay do they get shot of the useless steering committees and quangos? No they hit huge numbers of lower paid workers who will now be forced to find work elsewhere in an economic climate that has very few jobs, or they will claim job seeker's allowance and where does that come from? The tax payer's purse again and now they are getting money for not doing a job.
The country currently has an unsustainable budget deficit and yet we pay huge sums of money daily to fight wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and they are talking of also sending assistance into other Middle Eastern countries after the recent uprisings.
This article in the Guardian discusses the cost of these wars
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/ 2009/feb/13/ afghanistan-iraq-bill-british-military.
"The cost of Britain's military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq this financial year has soared to more than £4.5bn, an annual increase of more than 50%,"
Yes the public sector may be larger than we can sustain but to cut back so quickly at a time when there are so few jobs seems madness to me. We are just increasing the numbers of unemployed.
The government states that we need to seriously consider the impact of us all living longer. There will be a cost implication in terms of NHS expenditure, care for the elderly in care homes or in their own homes and of course pensions. People don't seem to be complaining about receiving a state pension. The fact is, that, although we do contribute in the form of National Insurance payments, most people would find that they get back far more than they ever paid in. You still get the state pension even if you have claimed benefits all your 'working' life. While I have no problem with those genuinely unable to work we do now have a huge unemployable section of society that contributes little and receives an awful lot. Perhaps the government should be a bit more proactive in encouraging some sort of contribution from these people.
The issue of public sector pensions seems to have been the focus of much of the recent debate. Once again teachers are a favourite target. In the civil service the average worker contributes either 1.5% or 3.5% of salary towards a pension while the employer puts in a huge 21.3%. Has no one noticed?
If state pensions were to be cut there would be a huge outcry. The pension age has risen and this is being done in stages. By the time my children retire it will be nearer 80 the way things are going. This pension comes from the public purse yet there are cries for an increase because everyone is affected and it would be a brave person who would stand up and say this should be cut to save money.
The average teacher's pension is £10,000 pa - hardly a fortune when you compare it with some and teachers do make large contributions into their pension funds from day one of them starting work (which incidentally only starts after a minimum of 4 years at university, hence they can only start earning from the age of 22). Teachers pay 6.4% of their salary into the scheme and the employer the other 14.1%. .
Many people working in the private sector choose not to pay any of their income into a pension fund at all or wait until they are much older. This combined with the fact that private pension funds have historically been mismanaged explains why private pensions are not worth much. Perhaps the government should regulate so that companies put the money they spend frivolously on jollies and bonuses into a pension fund for employees.
The government should be working towards equality, providing a decent contribution-based fund for all those who have worked
The government is trying to make teachers pay more and work longer for a lower pension at the end of their careers - this is being done BEFORE they have actually properly assessed the true state of the teachers' pension funds, as far as we know there is not a financial crisis with this fund - pensions are being targeted as part of over zealous, ideologically driven public spending cuts NOT because of any hard evidence that the current pensions fund is unsustainable.
The other thing is that these cuts will not actually benefit the country's budget for a good few years so to put them forward as a means of saving money to help with the present financial crisis does not make any logical sense.
The vast majority of public sector workers accept that there has to be some change to compensate for people living longer - just not this much change straight away. In 2007 the teachers' pension scheme was reformed so that new teachers starting after that date will have to work longer anyway.
On the subject of expecting us all to work longer there may be other factors to consider. Can you honestly see someone of age 68 lifting you as a patient on to a hospital bed, or up a ladder fighting a fire in your home, or serving on your behalf on the front line in Afghanistan. Of course you can't! We have to be realistic. These jobs are not desk jobs, they are not wining and dining and smoozing jobs, these are practical jobs that require a certain level of fitness and mental agility. In some employment situations there is the possibility of moving to a less physically demanding role as you get older but in hospitals, schools and the services this is largely not possible. Don't forget also that we don't have full employment at the moment and are unlikely to have at any point in the future so if people work to a later age then there will be even fewer jobs and there will be more 'lost generations'
It is every worker's right to be able to withdraw his labour should he feel that this is the only way his employer will listen. Just because you are doing a job that is useful and withdrawing your labour will affect others should not mean that you lose the right to strike. If you are a member of a Union and the Union ballots in favour of a strike you are obliged to follow union advice.
I have read other reviews on here saying that public servants have had it easy over the last few years. E.g
" To be honest, I believe that the public sector have had a fantastic deal over the last number of years. You were pretty much guaranteed job security, a good level of pay, often far in excess of what an equivalent job in the private sector would pay, and to top it all, a very generous pension scheme. When private sector workers are happy just to still be in a job, I find it rather distasteful when public sector workers bemoan the fact that they might have to work a few years longer, or receive a slightly less generous (but still better than most private sector) pension entitlement." From Pumfster 'A kneejerk reaction or an essential marker for the future?' on ciao."
I take issue with the point about salaries. I firmly believe that private sector employees are better paid by a long way often for doing jobs which are not as challenging. I know that a consultant in the NHS can earn more doing a couple of week- ends of private work than they can in a month of NHS work. I also know that a teacher at a local well known private school gets paid more for part time teaching than one in the local state school.
On the subject of job security I know for a fact that jobs in a local college of further education are constantly at risk with redundancies occurring on a regular basis
Thirdly the very generous pension makes up for the less than amazing salaries earned. Teachers do not get fat bonuses each year which could be invested for security in our old age. This pension is something that teachers rely on to maintain a bit of security in their old age. I am sure that if some changes were suggested and gradually brought in then most teachers would be prepared to make adjustments but to suddenly change the goal posts, the ball and the points earned all at the same time is just too much too soon. It seems that the sacrifices are being required by only a few.
If the pay conditions and pensions are altered too unfavourably for teachers then the already severe shortages of teachers in many subjects (Maths, Science, and Languages) could become even worse. People with maths and science qualifications are already less likely to choose teaching as with those qualifications they would earn more in the private sector in industry.
If fewer people go into teaching then this will lead to poorer quality education for all of our children. Surely in the long term missing one day for a strike should be seen as a short term loss for long term gain.
I think that if people could see that the cuts were being shared in a more equitable way then they would be prepared to make a few sacrifices. I know that many people have lost their jobs but this is not just something that is just taking place in the private sector. This is across the board; the difference seems to be that the public sector is fair game and somehow it deserves this. I cannot understand this very unfair view, the public sector workers keep this country going, they teach your children, they police your streets, they nurse you or operate on you when you need this, they care for the elderly in homes, they put out fires, drive emergency vehicles, protect vulnerable children, sweep the streets, tend the public parks, govern the nation, protect the borders, fight in the forces and many more essential jobs.
By hitting the public services so hard the government is going to find that everyone will suffer. People already complain about staff shortages in hospitals and here they are cutting back further. Cutting police numbers will lead to fewer still 'Bobbies on the Beat' so a possible rise in petty crime.
People complain that the strike last week caused a lot of interruption to the general public. Hello!! Isn't that the point of any strike, to bring the situation to the attention of the public through some removal of service? How many people were put out by the postal strikes in the 1970s and the miners' strike in the 1980s? Each and every one has consequences and causes interruption for the general public. If it didn't cause some sort of interruption then it would not have any impact at all so those complaining of inconvenience have surely rather missed the point of industrial action.
If removing one day's work has caused this much disruption then perhaps the moaning public better consider that maybe the jobs that the public servants do are indeed valuable and should be treated as such. If a child had to miss a school trip on one day surely that is preferable to not having enough teachers for his secondary school career because no one wants to go into the profession. Some people had to take their children to work, some had to take unpaid leave (those on strike also didn't get paid either). Well, sorry, schools are an education service not a child minding service and there was a fair bit of warning so that child minding could be arranged if needed. I notice that it was mainly complaints about teachers being on strike rather than other public services as it was the inconvenience of having to find child care that caused most of the moaning and whining,
People look beyond the ends of your noses and your own self centred interest and actually look into what is going on in these government cuts. Rather than looking at the short term inconvenience of having to look after your own child, think of the consequences of the very huge public servant cut backs and what this will mean to the whole country.
So many more people out of work, so many more people claiming tax payers' money when not working as they cannot get a job, more hospital problems as there will be fewer staff, an increase in unsolved crime as a result of there being fewer police. The list goes on. I know many in the private sector are also suffering through job losses but don't turn on public servants as though it is their fault.
Sorry for the rant but I do get tired of the constant bashing that public servants get in the press. While the strike may be a bit premature I do strongly support the right of anyone to strike. I also support the fight against all the major changes in the pension and believe that there should be more discussion and a more gradual change to the rules. These changes will not help the present financial crisis at all so I can't see why they are being rushed through. The government would be more usefully employed in sorting the present crisis and creating jobs rather than putting more people out of work.
Thanks for reading and don't shout at me too loudly! This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
So, as expected, all those who screamed at the politicians to tell them what exactly their plans for cuts were before the election so they could calculate their vote are now the ones screaming at the same politicians for implementing those needed cuts. It seems like most of us were in favour of cuts as long as it wasn't us. The coming season of strikes will reflect that ambiguity.
As you lovely people know, last month the teachers went on strike. It was effectively the first day of Cameron's Big Society, a chance to road-test people's abilities to cope without public services, even striking teachers having to find childcare and spare relatives to tend their little Harry Potters. It was a nonsense strike, of course. Please tell me why 12 weeks holiday a year (so time for a second job option in the summer holidays), a six grand annual pension provision, as much sick time as you can handle and 30k a year is seemingly not enough for our educators? Middle-class strikers are always idealistic over realistic. Anyone can teach kids the answers on a white board guys. Very few can teach the kids the questions they need to ask on the blackboard. The latter were not on strike. It's a vocation not a vacation guys! If you cant hack it or don't like the pay and conditions then get out. There are plenty of Polish professionals ready to take your place.
Strikes maybe the answer for some unions to placate their workers but never wise in recession. David Cameron is clearly encouraging the teachers and public servants to 'walk and not talk' so he can turn private workers against public ones. It's an old Tory trick. I bet most of you were cursing the teachers as you were the BA workers. Keep falling into that trap guys. Look what happened to the working-class in Wales after the miners were taken down. Some old pit areas have 70% unemployment rates. Today we call them scroungers. This is not so much about saving money by the Tories but moving public service into private ownership. It can be done surreptitiously under the cloak of cuts. In fact it's a great time to be a Tory politician if you hate the state. The mass closure of old folks homes are only the start of it.
You have to be pretty stupid to believe the Big Society is anything other than a cover for the cuts, the Tories always itching to chainsaw the state. There is £790 billion going out in public spending but just £550 billion coming in. Their feeling is that the citizens always become dependent on the state under Labour and so that only breeds more public servants and spending and so even
Pictures of Do you support the public sector strikes?
Power to the people!!! ..more dependency on the state. We have five million unemployed to date, 15 million pensioners, and students and kids to educate on top of that huge burden, 50% of the population expected to pay for the other 50%.
Rising obesity is an example of that state dependency, record numbers of people with diabetes diagnosed under Labour, not enough of the people exercising and looking after themselves as the safety net of the welfare state became a hammock under Blair. The big people expect the NHS to magic up money to fit them with a gastric band to take the problem away so they can live the full life of gluttony. I think that is an appropriate metaphor for the country right now. The system is set up to help us fail and sit back and feel ok about it. The fat of the land needs to be trimmed and the nation needs to get fit for the coming new world to survive. This is very serious. Strikes won't fix that apathy.
The teachers, like most public servants, don't want to bare that cost of the cuts. In Northampton, fully expecting that intellectual belligerence in certain services, they have had to look to other areas to make the savings. Their first move was to privatise the waste and recycling department. 60% of your council tax is wages and 25% is public servants pensions and so staff cuts are always the first swing of the axe. The new waste company, Enterprise', have cut the number of waste trucks and workers to make their margin. 400 Polish lads and just 24 English lads applied for the new jobs. The wage bill has tumbled as guys on eleven quid an hour were asked to re-apply for their job at minimum wage or lose it. They did not strike.
After a poor start with chaos aplenty in the refuse service it's calmed down a bit now and they are improving. But people moaned in the local papers and had no patience for the bedding in, stinky nappies piling up in the black bins too much for some. But the point is that their council tax will fall if further services are privatised and big savings made. I have a feeling the same whingers will be happy with that.
We have to cut back on public services and that means those wages and pensions across the board. Greece is where we are heading (like the teachers are in those 12 weeks for their second holiday) if we keep growing public service employment. The Greeks used public service employment as jobs for the boys after the civil conflicts of the 1970s in a bid to pacify the masses so to be able to qualify to join the European Union. But they got lazy and once they were fully into the E.U. they were offered full access to cheap Euro loans and went to town, now 27% of all jobs in Greece being public servants. 60% of the country retires before their 60th birthday and only 10% claim to earn over 90,000 Euros so to evade paying the top level of tax. In fact few people pay tax in Greece. They have no intention to and would rather the nation goes broke and so have yet more therapeutic riots. They have been living the dream off your taxes for far too long guys. But every time new Greek governments tried to stem exorbitant public spending the country rioted to protect that lifestyle of siestas and fiestas. It's not a country of ruins for nothing! Even today their graduates aspire to work in public service because the pension deals and wages are so gold-plated. There are even stories of cleaners in the Greek Parliament earning more than private sector middle managers! Again, we may not think we are going to be Greece but we are now so dependent on the public service sector to create jobs that the private sector has shrunk and seriously creaking. We may well be the fifth biggest manufacturing industry in the world per capita buts its only 11% of our total output.
No Jobs and so Strikes...
The problem we now have is that there not going to be many good jobs to replace sacked public service workers here and so I can only presume the Tories want high unemployment for a spell to drive down the inflation threat first, the biggest killer of world economies. For Greece their fete is sealed, no way they can't escape defaulting on those loans and so total collapse imminent. Their only chance to recover is to devalue their currency. But they are in the Euro and so there is no mechanism to do that. That rigidity is why I hate the European Union, the rich central and northern European countries always supporting the loan dependent 'P.I.G.S', Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain.
But coming back to Britain it's hard to support strikes, that lefty loony Bob Crowe on the tube trains an example of. Union power at its worse drives up wages to absurd levels through the constant threat of frivolous strikes, Bob's speciality. In America they have the same problem, the unions able to drive up the average car workers wage in the 1990s to $38 per hour! The guy on the line was earning more than pilots, doctors and accountants. It was crazy and eventually led to the collapse of the industry in the 'credit crunch'. Only last week it was revealed that the job of life guard in California was not only a great life but a very well paid one, experienced workers pulling in an average salary of $60,000 per year to get a sun tan! On top of that there were huge pension hikes for guys that stayed in the job, up to 60% of your salary if you retired at 50. A significant number of beach guards in America were pulling in 100k a year! No wonder the women are all over them. Their unions were strong and always pushing up their wages, regardless of productivity. I'm not suggesting union power here will deliver absurdities like that but that is the nature of the union. It's hard to sack guys and girls in the union in councils and organisations here and the longer the naff employees stay in employment the worse the service gets. Some of the tails I hear from my mates in the Post Office and on the council on how hard it is to get rid of poor staff are amazing.
The doctors and consultants recently scored a fabulous deal on the NHS to replace the old 11/13th contract where they were allowed to take time in their public service contract to do private work. Their new deal sees them get around £100 grand a year as a family doctor-for example- but they don't have to cover weekends, presumably time for their private work. It's well known that an NHS surgeon can never find time for your free operation but he or she will do the same NHS operation in the same hospital the next day if you are prepared to pay for it. These are the same lazy medical professionals who are about to be given the extra workload of running the NHS but prefer to be on the golf course at the weekends.
Striking will resolve nothing in the public service. We only need look at the crisis in the care sector to see why we need to make the sacrifices now so to afford to be able to look after the old folks, which is you and me one day. We are all struggling with utility bills and inflation but surely its better to have a smaller public service than strike and bring the lot down and so play right into Cameron's hands? If moneys tight then stop buying comfort food and shoes you will never wear. Stop wasting petrol on journeys you could walk or the gadget for your garden that's very noisy but doesn't actually do anything that needs doing. Its buying those flat screen TVs and mortgages we could never afford on credit that got us inot this mess. Yes we are in a tight corner but the public service has to bend like the private sector or we will all be smashing plates in anger like the Greeks do. If the economy turns around in the future then that's the time to strike. Now is not the time to try and bring the Tories down through strikes as the whole house of cards will come down with it.