I know all the tada and confuffle that is going around about public sector workers and the pension conditions. I might even have joined them if I was one of them, and only saw the issues about three feet from my shoes - but I’m not.
I was a private sector employee when I was working. I worked in the Human Resources arena and with experience of Trades Unions, I know that there are reasonable and unreasonable officials out there in the big old world of scoring votes (or subscription fees).
Yes, yes, I hear you all about unions standing up for the workers, but for heavens sake, that was in the days when there was zero in the way of employment law to protect employees. The long and the short of it is that if the money isn’t there to sustain the amount of money needed to go outwards, then something has to give or it is staff numbers that will end up going.
Given the choice of losing thousands of public sector workers, or reducing terms and conditions in the same way as private sector workers have to, I have no sympathy for those going out on strike. Most of the private sector lost their final salary pensions years ago and it irks me that just because some people are in jobs that are unionised, that they get preferrential treatment when it comes to terms and conditions of employment. If people are striking to make a point about the cuts to the bigger society, then I hope it gets listened to, but I suspect it will get lost in the melee of striking voices.
I am a representative from the sector of society that is losing income by the bucket load for reasons like these:
- Prices for shopping are going through the roof.
- The DLA is refusing allowances for people who depend on it.
- Reductions to care packages. Because my son needs a helper to go swimming, I will have to pay for his care worker to take him.
- Direct Payments are the Government care package cop-out. Most people will never manage to cope with these, but they are fast becoming the norm.
- Closing care centres and halls where clubs for disadvantaged and special needs meet.
- Closing special schools.
- Reducing classroom support assistants to help with children with additional support for learning needs (ASL).
- Reducing (ASL) teaching staff.
- School resources not being replaced and relying on parental contributions.
We have taken some pretty savage cuts this past year or two, and there are more in the pipeline, so it sticks in my throat to have this countrywide strike of privileged people who are in a position to put food on the table every day.
We are lucky in our family as we can afford to eat, and we can afford to heat our home, but I can’t help wondering how the hundreds of thousands in our Country who are not so lucky are viewing the public sector workers right now. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Labourite through and through, and when I can see a reason to strike for justice, I will support them.
This isn’t one of those times.
Tomorrow is a sad day for me. If the strike reaps the rewards that they want to have, I can almost hear the resounding slap as more special needs teachers, support staff and care givers are axed to pay for it. And don’t forget all those public sector workers who will also have to go as the costs for employing staff remain high.
If people want someone to blame, they should go to where the budget slashing started and get together to try to change it. All those banks who got our Country into this state are laughing at us as they announce their enormous profits, but are our Government making them pay back their dues?
Perhaps they are, but it certainly doesn’t look like it to me.
Many times recently I have seen and heard the argument that striking shows the “bosses” they mean business and gets parents leaning pressure on – as they are angered by organising child care for strike days. That strikes me as petty, mean and pointless (no pun intended).
I sympathise with those who won’t strike, whether it is for ethical or moral reasons as they are likely to be given a hard time.
I am coming across more and more of a stick it to the Government and stand up for the little people attitude. Maybe crowd demonstrations will cut it, who knows.
Rant over for the day.