1 December 2011

Strike? No I’ll go shopping instead

Yesterday was the day of the public sector strikes.

I have mixed emotions about striking.  On the one hand you have the medical sector , emergency services, police, all of these professions do an amazing and often thankless job.

Although, as someone pointed out to me, those jobs are also a vocation, a want to help the public as well as a need for a job, I do believe that they deserve good pay, a good pension etc.

The people I have the problem with are the teachers who strike, the admin staff of the medical profession and also admin from various other public sectors, such as the Court Service.

Teaching is also a vocation, but one with good pay, a pension, job security and 13 weeks holiday a year.  I fail to see what they have to complain about.  Teachers can and do argue that that amount of holiday time isn’t a fair reflection given that they have to do lesson plans, marking etc over some points during that time.

Taking away the usual 4 weeks holidays that you would get, that leaves 9 weeks.  On the generous side of allowing 3 weeks to do the extra work, which on the average day of 9-5 equates to 120 hours, that still leaves 6 weeks of paid additional holidays to everyone else.

That is the way the school year works, I understand that, but you must appreciate that to a private sector worker like myself, seeing someone with so many good things about their job complaining and striking is irritating.  In these current times you are lucky to have a job and moaning about a tax payers paid for pension amount, which is more than the state pension the private sector gets, does not carry any favour.

My sister is a teacher, I say at this point, but I believe in what I say and am not going to not write about it because I am related to one.  She did not strike although don’t actually know what her views are on the subject.  If she reads this blog, I guess I will find out!

Even more than the teachers who strike, the people who make me the most angry are the administration staff that strike.  Teachers are at least contributing to society, teaching and educating and helping to improve lives, administration staff do none of those things.

Admin staff are just that, admin.  Part of my duties are in an administration capacity in my firm, but I wouldn’t dream of taking strike action.  Why?  Because I think myself lucky to have a job in the first place.

The last time there was a strike, I had to go up to the local Court on work related business.  When I got to the front doors I was told that I could not enter, that I would be crossing a picket line, and that the Court were on strike. 

Three members of staff that day, unbeknown to each other at that time, went up to the Court that day.  There were no people outside striking, no “picket line” to cross.  The admin staff just hadn’t shown up, probably used the day to go shopping.  If you are on strike, be there, show why you are on strike, don’t go shopping.

Incidentally, most of the large towns and cities yesterday were uncharacteristically packed with shoppers Christmas buying with their children in tow and I’m willing to bet that most of them should have been on the picket line.

So that’s the end of my little rant.  Understand some strikers, disagree with others and loathe the rest. 

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