Give Them Detention!
So, teachers in England and Wales are planning a series of strikes in a row over pay, pensions and workload. Are they mad? Or, just greedy?
Now don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are teachers. Some of my relatives are teachers. And, I understand that they perform a hugely important role in our society and have jobs which can often be challenging and stressful. And, I know that there are some excellent teacher out there.
I can also understand their frustration with the tone and stupidity which spills forth from the slobbery jowls of Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, and the constant tampering with the curriculum and targets. But, the Tories do not have a good track record of responding constructively or positively to industrial action and the reality is that the only impact the action will have is a negative one, on the children who will have their lessons interrupted, and their families, who will have to take time off work or pay for very expensive childcare.
The unions are protesting over salary freezes, performance-related pay schemes, increased pension contributions and rising workloads. Really? Perhaps they should read a newspaper, or watch the news occasionally. Have they not heard of austerity measures? Are they unaware of the state of the economy? Have they never worked in the real world? Do they really think that their demands are justified? They should try surviving in the private sector.
Secondary education teachers in 2012 were paid an average salary of £33,274, with primary and nursery teachers at £29,272, making them considerably better paid than other notable professionals such as midwives, nurses, probation officers, firemen, social workers, therapists, and many, many more and considerably higher than the average salary of £26,644. And they get paid these rates for a working year of just 195 days, which is some 34 days less than your average full paid employee in other professions.
A good salary and lots of holidays are not the only benefits. On top of this teachers get a defined-benefit index-linked pension scheme based upon salary and service and which is reviewed annually.
I think they should ask themselves if they are really that much worse off than the rest of us and maybe reconsider.