Reasons to support the teachers’ strike #teacherROAR

Why should you support the teachers’ strike.

Please take your time to consider why teachers in England are taking industrial action on 1st October and again on 17th October.  Teachers have not taken this decision lightly – morale in the profession is at an all-time low. They have witnessed a destructive onslaught and systematic demolition of the education system, breaking up of local education authorities, forced academisation, attacks on pensions, removal of national pay-scales, increased workloads,  perpetual interference  of examination structures and the curriculum which are detrimental to education. Teachers are speaking out against the policies from the Coalition government which have damaged their livelihoods, and the lives of the children  they teach. This is a time for solidarity. Please support the strike. (Twitter hashtag is #teacherRoar)

The article reproduced below was published on “Teacher ROAR” blog, and comprehensively explains why the decision taken to strike is understandable, justifiable, and commendable) Now is not the time to attack those who are speaking out, but those in government who have caused such wilful destruction, for political and ideological purposes.

REASONS TO SUPPORT THE TEACHERS STRIKES, OCTOBER 2013

Tomorrow teachers in some regions of England will go on strike. This is the second in a series of proposed strikes by two teaching unions, the NUT and the NASUWT, who between them represent over 90% of serving teachers.

That they are striking together is significant. Historically the two unions have been rivals and relationships between them have often been fractious. What has caused them to put their decades of differences aside and work together? It can be summed up in one word:

 Gove.”

This can’t be said often enough. Striking is a last resort. No one wants to go on strike. Teachers lose a day’s pay, and know that they will be accused of wanting the day off, of being lazy, of not caring about kids, or deliberately inconveniencing parents. Striking is something you only do when you have explored all other avenues and found them blocked off.But Gove has united teachers in a feeling that a stand has to be made and, since he won’t sit down and negotiate with the unions, we are taking strike action.So what’s it all about? Well, where do we start? First of all Gove has announced that he wants teachers to work longer, pay more and get less for their pension than they agreed when they started the job.So what, I hear you say. People are living longer, it’s a time of austerity and the country can’t afford to pay out for your “gold-plated” pensions. Them’s the breaks, right?

No. For a start our pension scheme has had £43 billion more paid into it than has ever been taken out. Let me repeat that. FORTY. THREE. BILLION. POUNDS. more has gone into our pension pot, paid for by serving teachers, than has ever been taken out by retired teachers. Our pension doesn’t need any input from the taxpayer to make it affordable for years to come, it’s fine as it is.
The increased pension contributions that Gove has demanded we pay combined with the pay freeze over the past few years means that, by April next year teachers will have had a 15% pay cut in real terms since 2010. That’s a FIFTEEN PERCENT paycut. We simply can’t sustain such an attack on our wages.

And teaching is a physical job. Carrying heavy boxes of books around a school, standing all day, crouching down next to desks to offer help, standing on desks to pin up displays, intervening in physical altercations – these are all a daily part of teachers lives. Keeping 30 children focused and on task for the best part of six hours a day takes enthusiasm and energy. It’s mentally and physically demanding and while most teachers say they will struggle to make it to 65, Gove is now insisting they go on until 68.  The cynical might say that, of course, he knows that’s simply impossible and means that many teachers will be forced to take early retirement, thereby losing many thousands of pounds from a pension that they have worked hard for for years, often decades.

Workload is another issue.  While Gove would like to maintain that teachers waltz in at 9, leave at 3, and sun themselves on beaches for six weeks in the summer the reality is very different.Any teacher will tell you that a typical day starts nearer to seven, doesn’t finish until well after 6, that breaks during the day are non-existent and that weekends and holidays are taken up with marking and planning. And that’s for more experienced teachers. These days tales of newly qualified teachers being at school until nine or ten at night and then going in again on the weekend are not uncommon. Which is why there is such a high burnout rate in teaching. And Gove wants us to do more. While most teachers need the holidays to keep on top of their workload, remind their family and friends what they look like, and physically and mentally recuperate, Gove says we should have shorter holidays and stay in school for longer so that we can have additional meetings and supervise after-school sessions. But all of this, the pay cut, the stolen pension, the increased workload, he might have got away with all of this were it not for his devastating onslaught on education.

Amongst other things he’s
·         Removed the Educational Maintenance allowance that allowed poorer students to stay on into further education
·         Done nothing to reduce the trebling of tuition fees
·         Narrowed the curriculum into something one academic has called neo-Victorian
·         Removed the need for schools to employ qualified teachers
·         Stopped the schools modernisation programme and diverted the money into free schools often in places where there is no need
·         Destroyed university based initial teacher training so they we are now facing a significant shortage of teachers in key subjects
·         Created a schools places crisis
·         Refused to listen to the advice of the profession
·         Refused to implement policies based on evidence and research
·         Constantly denigrated teachers
Teachers have had enough. They’ve had enough of the attacks on their pay, on their pensions and their working conditions. But most of all they’ve had enough of the attacks on education.
gove2l

It’s time to stand up for education.

It’s time to stand up for teachers.

Please support the strikes. 

16 thoughts on “Reasons to support the teachers’ strike #teacherROAR

  1. Pingback: We’re all ROARing for Teachers and Education #teacherROAR! #GoveMUSTGo | Think Left

  2. Pingback: Teacher Union Strikes | Diebus

  3. Perhaps the teachers or their union should cover the loss of pay of parents or their extra child care costs. Surely a demonstation could take place during half term then it would not effect parents or children and would still tell Gove what teachers think.

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    • Unfortunately, teachers have been demonstrating and putting forward their point of view as you suggest for some time, Gove has not and will not listen to those who know, and he does not care. Striking, as the article says is a last resort as state education is being privatised. Anyone who supports education should support this strike. Teachers are giving up their pay, and many of them have children too.

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  4. Pingback: Teachers hate Michael Gove the whistleblower, because he speaks unpleasant truths – Telegraph Blogs

  5. I’m sorry but I cannot support somthing so unfair. Teachers have far better pension than other public sector and there is no comparison with private sector (their salaries are in average higher than private pension). I do not see why do I have to contribute more for a teacher’s persion to what I contribute to mine.

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      • I cannot understand your support for a race to the bottom. The conditions in the private sector should be radically improved, not used as a reason to attack teachers’ pay and pensions. Teachers have effectively had a pay cut of 15% and a cut to their pensions which was fully self-funded, the amount being paid out being millions less than had been paid-in.

        This government’s aim is to create a low-waged, two-tier education system. That’s not what I want for the 97% of children that are state-educated which is why I support the teachers. Currently, all the teachers I know are trying to manage against a back-drop of redundancies and cuts to funding. How can over-stretched teachers who lack basic resources (like funding for textbooks) possibly fulfil the potential of their pupils.

        This is the classic strategy of the R. Weaken and undercut the public services so as to reduce the outcry when they’re privatised.

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  6. What exactly does the issue of university tuition fees have to do with the education of primary age children? Fees were introduced by a Labour government; did primary teachers go out on strike citing this as a major reason back then? Ditto academies.

    Likewise the assertion that Gove, all alone, single-handedly has “Created a schools places crisis.” Where have you been for the last decade?? How exactly has he created a schools place crisis all on his own when there has been one for years?

    It’s not your right to deny my children a day’s education because you disagree with the free schools and academies policy. Which Labour will retain if/when back in Government by the way.

    British children are 22nd out of 24 for literacy and 21st for numeracy in the recent OECD report. Next you’ll be telling us Gove done this all on his own and it’s got nothing to do with the sway that ‘the left-wing perspective’ has held over education for 40 years and more. What exactly is the ‘advice of the profession’ on dealing with this? This is the real crisis. And yet all you can talk about is your bogeyman Gove.

    And by the way, I come from a family of teachers, so this does not come from a position of hostility to teaching. I am hostile to this over-politicised, strike-only-when-Tories-are-in-government stance that has nothing to do with the education of children and everything to do with your own prejudices.

    If you insist on striking, focus on pensions (which incidentally, I cannot afford. No leftist I know ever showed solidarity with private sector workers over Brown’s destruction of their pensions system) and pay. Don’t bring these outlandish assertions into it; it’s as if you feel Gove has the power of Saruman for heaven’s sake.

    Can you please wake up to the real world?

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    • I agree with all your points and myself went on strike for pretty much the same reasons when they imposed very similar changes to the pension of healthcare workers. I do however feel that since our strike action little was done to amend the terms and conditions and our new pension was brought through so we now have longer to work and are making bigger contributions with less input from the government. My feeling is while I believe it is highly unfair – I physically support people’s weight daily as a stroke rehabilitation physiotherapist – there is no way I can do this job at 67. I do feel there should be equality across the public sector pay so either we should all have our pensions changed or none of us should. I really wish that we could go for none but as the changes have been forced upon the health sector I feel the teachers striking will do little to change the governments mind.

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