The NUT has today put forward the threat that they will strike if cuts affect the country’s education system. But further, their words sent out a call to the rest of the public sector as Jerry Glazier of the NUT said "In this time of recession, the need to protect education funding and the public services should be obvious to all political parties. The whole fabric of a decent society is built on protecting the young, the old, the vulnerable and those in poverty." What they are calling for is a "co-ordinated campaign of action … including strike action … to oppose pay freezes, threats to pensions and cuts to services". Teachers chanted "The workers united will never be defeated" in response.
Mark Serwotka, the general Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said that this Labour government was the worst in history and that it had never been a worse time to be a public sector worker.
This is therefore not just about education, it is a call to arms for all the public sector workers. A warning shot across the bows of any incoming government that public sector cuts will be fought.
How short their memories are. What these people are conveniently forgetting is that 13 years of government spending have given them the schools, the policemen, the nurses, the hospitals and the extra staff that now make a larger than ever public sector. Over the past 13 years they themselves have been part of a massive boom. A boom based just like everyone else’s on debt. A boom that must inevitably lead to bust.
The short waiting lists (fiddled as ever) are down to government spending/debt. The extra nurses, teachers and schools all based on government spending/debt.
The extra pay they received is based on government spend/debt. Therefore the houses they bought are funded the same way. Just like those of people in the private sector.
They now wish to ring-fence this and don’t care how it is funded, as long as the pain does not reach them. Well, the incoming government will have to face facts, and one of those is that government cuts are inevitable. All those ‘advances’ we made based on debt will have to be relinquished. Waiting lists will go up, school sizes will increase and the number of public sector workers will decrease. We need to live within our means and no amount of union pontificating about a "decent society" being built on protecting the young, the old and the poor will change that.
The truth is we could not properly afford the public sector we have bought. We certainly cannot afford to keep it as it is.
As a country we are like the proud owner admiring the bright shiny new car in the driveway bought on credit just as the bailiffs draw up outside to repossess the house.
These public sector workers need to listen and act on their own claims, striking in order to keep their own pay and pensions safe whilst children go untaught is definitely not acting in the interests of a ‘decent society’.