Saturday, 29 October 2011

On striking

There's another coming up on 30th November (which is very welcome as this term is an 8 weeker with no bank holidays in sight - most of us will be the walking dead by Christmas).

Much as I like the odd day off, having breakfast with my colleagues in E Pellici's (they took the piss out of my homemade banner last time - "You're a teacher, I thought you were s'posed to be good with the Blue Peter stuff?") and walking around in the fresh air for the day instead of cooped up in school with lots of smelly germy children, I have my doubts about strikes, especially in education.

In the olden times, like with the Ford Women's strike, going on strike would hit the management where it hurts. When the factory closed, the business would lose profits.

Going on strike in education pisses off the parents, affects the kids, but most importantly, does not impact in the least on the people you want it to - ie, the government. They could give two shits, most of their kids are at private schools anyway. Striking is becoming an exceedingly blunt instrument. It's like a relic of past times.

I think we've got to be a bit more smart and wily over the protest actions we take.

One of the teachers at meeting I went to had a good idea - at least I thought it was a good idea, but they dismissed it without considering it much. Maybe I'm naive, but I thought it would work much better.

"The only thing they take notice of is money. So we've got to hit them where it hurts. Why don't we withdraw our money from the state pension and set up our own? The whole public sector pensions scheme would break down and they'd have to take action."


  1. I'm not 100% up on how public sector pensions compare with private sector but I would have thought that doing that is exactly what the Tories would want to have happen in that the action they'd be likely to take would be to force everyone to transfer out and just wind up the scheme. Transfering out of a pension before retirement means that you lose a lot of money in transfer fees and penalties. And anyone who chose not to transfer would likely end up with nothing if the scheme became unable to meet its liabilities.

    I think you have a point about striking here but the action I'd consider is changing teaching techniques to indoctrinate the next generation into always voting Labour.

  2. Bah, I don't trust Labour anymore than the Tories.

    You are probably right. Do you think they want to privatise all the public services? If they wound it down, that's what the final result would be. (I understand that it is a self-funding scheme, in that I am paying for the pension of teachers retiring now, and the young ones will be paying for mine in the future. What you put in is what you get out, it's deferred wages - which makes me wonder why I bother if they are decreasing it year on year, cutting my salary and making me work longer. Wish I'd just kept it in my mattress.)

    'You would likely end up with nothing if the scheme became unable to meet its liabilities' That's exactly what the strike is about! Their argument is that they can't afford the pensions as they are...

    I don't believe for a minute that they're going to hand it back at the end of our working lives, all intact & wrapped with a shiny ribbon. As long as I've been working we've had to see off attacks by all the parties on the public sector pension agreements, why should we trust them to be honourable in 30 years' time?

    I think this issue is about value and worth- they seem to say, the public sector is expensive. Let's get rid of it...