Members of the NUT and ATL teachers’ unions are going on strike next week over proposals to make changes to their taxpayer-subsidised gold-plated pensions.
The Hutton Report recommends raising the retirement age, paying less out and requiring more in contributions and it is this suggestion that public sector workers should feel some of the pain as the rest of the population that has driven the unions into a frenzy.
Over the last decade, teachers’ pay has increased above inflation, they get three times as many paid holidays as most other professions and have generous public sector pensions for relatively small contributions. Meanwhile, in the private sector over the past few years we’ve seen unemployment go through the roof, pay frozen or even cut and pensions pillaged by the British Treasury to pay for, amongst other things, public sector pensions.
It’s not just teachers that are being incredibly selfish over public sector cutbacks though, it’s the public sector as a whole. Lots of public sector unions are proposing strikes to try and protect their privileged taxpayer-funded terms and conditions. Only this week a UNISON rep was on the radio saying that Shropshire Council workers were going on strike over cutbacks t0 their perks saying “we’re not asking for anything that nobody else has got”. This was moments after explaining that two of the things they were striking over were guaranteed payrises and being paid a mileage allowance to drive to and from work. How many people in the private sector get guaranteed payrises just for turning up and not getting sacked or paid by the mile to drive to work in a morning?
Because of the strikes next week, one of my kids won’t be allowed to go to school because his teacher is going on strike (the only one in the school). That I don’t mind but another one is supposed to be doing his two link days at secondary school next week as he starts secondary school in September. His link days have been cancelled, not even postponed. He will go to secondary school in September not knowing his teachers, who is in his class, where his classroom will be or any of the other things they learn on these two days. And all because some teachers don’t like the idea of having to pay for their own damn pensions.