I've been thinking a lot about teaching assistants this week. As my Twitter followers might know, I've been tweeting about the Durham TAs and following the striking Derby TAs and generally, reflecting upon how badly we treat our school support staff. As a former teaching assistant myself, they have my total support.
The lecturers' pay strike is not so much a disruption to teaching as an attempt to organise against the disruption to education created by rampant privatization... As the general strike of 4 July looms ahead of us, the lecturers' struggle is a stark reminder of why we must unite. When the bosses have sealed the doors and burned the ladders, industrial action is the only recourse.
I am taking part in industrial action because by asking us to do more for less our employers are ruining the experiences of our students and because I can see the unfairness of my employer employing the majority of men (52%) on permanent, full-time contracts, whilst the majority of women (56.4%) are in casualised employment. I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with colleagues and students in defence of higher education and to make it clear that casualisation and pay inequality are not acceptable.
As strike action by junior doctors continues, the government is apparently in quandary over whether it is 'imposing' or 'introducing' the new contract. Whichever they choose, the contract will currently apply only to new junior doctors: the current Medical undergraduates. Yet their voice has been peculiarly neglected in the debate.
Their ultimate goal is striking a balance of cohesion between the aims of the employer and the needs of the worker. This Bill does little but smash the scales of fairness to pieces. The question will be, after the implementation of the Trade Union Bill, how can we even begin to put them back together again?
The tube strike taking place in London has definitely been a big topic of conversation this week, especially today. Many of our simple journeys to work today will be like journeys from hell, the buses will be jam-packed and have us feeling like we are in a tin of sardines. I am not surprised that people will be unhappy with the tube drivers for all the inconvenience they will face.
Tt is clearly no longer acceptable for a few militant trade union leaders to regularly seek to squeeze yet more money out of the hard-pressed London taxpayer and fare payer. London is a great city but its position as a services capital of the world is fragile and dependant on it remaining a convenient place to do business.
How will we attract more people into teaching, when they will be treated so poorly and fragrantly ignored by their Secretary of State? How can we expect a good education for future children when teachers are so overworked and underpaid? ... We should be supporting them in their struggle for fairer treatment and a better education system for all.