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Striking workers is part of a healthy democracy

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 24, 2014

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IT’S fair to say teachers come in for a lot of stick - especially when they go on strike.

‘Why should I be fined for taking my children on holiday in term time when teachers can just go on strike’ is a frequent gripe.

But this is poor logic, and there needs to be a clear distinction about the different processes here.

It is the Local Education Authority which fines parents, whereas a decision to strike is taken by the teaching unions.

I don’t doubt that strikes cause disruption for parents, but it is a decision which is never taken lightly. Industrial action is a last resort in an attempt to improve the system.

It is also a far more justifiable reason to disrupt education than saving money on a holiday in the sun.

It is easy to knock teachers, but it must be remembered their job is an incredibly difficult one, and I say that from experience.

The ability to control groups of unruly teenagers is no mean feat, anyone who can also teach the intricacies of quadratics, the Cold War or the periodic table has my respect.

But 60-hour weeks, the prospect of performance-related pay and extensive reforms make the profession a stressful one.

Little wonder then that 40 per cent of teachers quit within their first five years.

Our education system is one of the finest in the world. Teachers should be rewarded for their efforts, not hounded out of the profession by an out-of-touch education secretary.

The freedom to strike is also a democratic right which sets Britain apart from tyranny and autocracy; To attack this right is to attack democracy.

If you don’t like that then remember, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

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