Thursday, 10 July 2014

Why I Am Glad My Wife and Daughter Are On Strike

My wife and my daughter are both teachers. They are on strike.

They are striking because:
  1. The current secretary of state for education utterly disregards the professional opinion of frontline teachers.
  2. The current secretary of state is introducing ill-informed ideologically motivated changes that have succeeded in alienating the vast majority of the profession to an unprecedented extent.
  3. They have not had a pay rise in three years.
  4. They are due just 1% pay rise this year.
  5. The government says they will not receive a real terms increase until 2016 at the earliest.
  6. Their pensions are being severely cut back.
  7. The prime minister whose party failed to get a majority vote four years ago is threatening to introduce minimum turnout ballots for strike action.
Both my wife and my daughter are dedicated, caring and skilful professionals doing arguably one the most important jobs there is. They typically work 10 to 11 hour days. They also work at weekends and during their holidays. Every week they buy resources for classroom teaching out of their own pockets without being able to claim expenses. It is a regular occurrence for my wife (who specialises in teaching children with autism) to be physically attacked.

If we value our country and our future as a society we must value our children. If we value our children we must value their education. If we value their education we must value the most important contributors to that education. This government patently does not.

I know that some in the private sector have also seen a deterioration in their remuneration and working conditions. This is no reason to criticise teachers for their action unless of course we want to encourage a race to the bottom for everyone other than the powerful and further widen the shameful and damaging gap between rich and poor. Yes I know teachers are not poor but many who will be striking today alongside them are.

The Labour Party is pathetically sitting on the fence. Teachers and others are left with little option but to strike. If they don’t no one will notice, nothing will be done, our education system and public service in general will continue to suffer and our country will have to face serious consequences.

Not only do I support the action that my wife and my daughter are taking. I am proud of them.


Anonymous said...

We'll put and thanks for your support, Glen.
Jo Golding

Ian Brewerton said...

Absolutely agree with you, Glen.

For generations UK society (perhaps more accurately English society) has been hoodwinked by the wealthy into believing that it is good for the rest of us support their economic aspirations - even at the expense of our own. This message is massively reinforced by a media industry largely owned by the same group. It crosses party boundaries, which is one of the reasons the last Labour government was such a disappointment.

If Labour can't their head round this, is it time for a new social democrat political grouping?

Anonymous said...

I'm probably the only person who left the National Day of Prayer on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh to exit the doors and meet my fellow Union members at the demonstration against the erosion of teacher's pay and conditions two years ago. I teach two days a week alongside ministry. It's a tough place to be but I do love the juxtaposition of indifferent pupils and indif……nah, never mind…...