It’s YOUR education, what do YOU think? Read our For and Against, and add your own thoughts below…
Teachers and college lecturers are angry at reforms which change the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. The government has proposed that they pay more into their pensions and work longer.
The right to strike is a democratic necessity – as students, we know how important it is to have the power to take direct action to get our voices heard, especially at times when no one seems to be listening. Sometimes, direct action is the only way left to defend your cause, as students showed when they protested about the cuts earlier this month. Whilst people are calling the unions selfish, saying they’re just itching for a fight, this is exactly what unions are for – protecting the workforce. They’re just doing their job, and are operating in difficult circumstances.
Let’s also remember that by cutting teachers pensions, we’re also cutting the quality of our education. The best teachers will no longer be attracted to employment in the public sector, and will instead work for private schools where pay and pensions are better.
They also believe that their job is particularly tiring and is simply impossible to do at the age of 68 – the retirement age the government has proposed.
And this issue goes wider than pensions. The government’s attack on pensions is basically making teachers pay for the greed of the bankers, whose incomes continue to increase. Yes, it’s inconvenient for our schools to close, but it’s just for one day. Our teachers are right to strike.
You can sympathise with any group of workers who have had the terms of their employment changed without much consultation – but that doesn’t mean it’s justified to close down thousands of schools tomorrow.
The country is in an economic crisis, and some would argue this was caused by the greedy bankers – but none of this has anything to do with the pension issue, which is why teachers are striking. If action isn’t taken now, then whilst we’ll enjoy a day off tomorrow, we will have to pay for it for decades to come.
The simple fact is that people are living longer, and teachers’ pensions are unfunded, which means that they have to be paid for out of the Government’s annual tax revenues, or borrowing, rather than from a fund that has grown over the years. As teachers live longer, they will draw their pension for longer, and the burden on future taxpayers, the young people of today becomes increasingly unaffordable. Future generations of workers, as well as needing to pay off student loans, will find themselves paying to support retired teachers and other public sector workers (many of whom had free college or university education back in the day).
So no – teachers shouldn’t be striking tomorrow. Instead, their union leaders should have discussions with their employers and seek a resolution that gives their members the best deal possible within the context of an economic crisis, which we must face today, tomorrow and well into the future.
Now over to you…read our other comments (click on the link to the left) and leave your own.