As union-bashing Michael Gove accused teachers of taking “militant” strike action over pension cuts, Scrapbook thought it apposite to revist the photo above of a certain bespectacled trainee journalist.

The image depicts the education secretary alongside union colleagues from Aberdeen’s Press and Journal, distributed across the northern counties of Scotland. Liberal Conspiracy reports that he went on a strike for as long as four months after his employers de-recognised the National Union of Journalists.

Indeed, Gove was described by his former shop steward as quite the firebrand:

“He was an active striker, willingly taking his turn on picket duty and going on a small delegation to Strasbourg to press the union’s case”

Current plans to make teachers pay more, work longer and get less in retirement threaten to choke off graduate recruitment, prompt thousands of older, experienced teachers to retire while making it even more difficult to recruit headteachers. The move sees the more cautious ATL union striking for the first time in 127 years.

Perhaps Gove should sit down with his former comrades instead of slinging mud.

  1. In fairness Gove has always acknowledged he went on strike but has said he felt it was unproductive in attaining the desired aims.

    Funny photo though.

  2. Here’s the deal.

    Teach kids how to read and write (20% leave school functionally illiterate). Educate them in useful subjects – 1 million unemployed whilst hundreds of thousands of East Europeans out compete for the jobs – teach them interpersonal skills, discipline, a work ethic, don’t brainwash them into Marxist mindsets and show them how to use a knife and fork and THEN you may deserve the publics respect and some money.

    Until then you will be treated like the wasters, scroungers and unprofessional jerks you are.

    What on earth makes teachers, or the rest of the public sector, think that they can not only have more secure employment, better pay, terms and conditions than the rest of society BUT also expect others to fund their over generous pensions and early retirement arrangements The world has moved on. Get used to it – we have.

    You are workers like the rest of us – not Public Sector Uber Mensch.

    Stop robbing off the rest of society and do the jobs you are currently abjectly failing at.

  3. Maybe in the other countries “Geoff M” mentions teachers aren’t described by a sizeable minority of the population using disrespectful language such as:

    “Until then you will be treated like the wasters, scroungers and unprofessional jerks you are.”

    This lack of respect is picked up by children who also don’t see why they should respect teachers quite possibly causing the issues you suggest. Many teachers do a brilliant and highly professional job despite the disrespect shown to them.

  4. “Here’s the deal.

    Teach kids how to read and write (20% leave school functionally illiterate).” Around the same proportion we’ve always had. Pupils cannot be taught to be intelligent. On a standard IQ distribution 17% have and IQ of under 85 (termed in non-PC days “low intelligence”). Add to that everything that now militates against the work of teachers in dealing with literacy – immigrant children with no English, dysfunctional families, disrespect for teachers from pupils, parents and the media, the low value given to education amongst the growing underclass – it will be a miracle if teachers can keep functional illiteracy at 20%.

  5. Mr Eric Creosote says:

    too many myths ….the ” unsustainable ” bit is the cost of State Pensions , however as much as the new right would be tempted by ” low hanging fruit ” , the 65 – 75 yr old age group is prime voting fodder and possible Daily Sieg Heil , Diana or Maily Torygraph readers ….The Bullingdon Berties being the bullies that they are…resort to either ” He’s got something I haven’t Miss ! ” schoolyard tactics or crude divide and conquer tactics ….it’s one hell of a coincidence that there is always riots and unrest when they are in Government .

    ” don’t brainwash them into Marxist mindsets ” yes the verbal bully or saloon bar bore tactics – ” I’m right , you are wrong anyone to the left of Genghis Khan / Queen Victoria / Margaret Thatcher/ Adolf Hitler is a looney Trot ” ….40 % of them voted Lie Dum and it tends to be a conservative profession with a small ” p ” ….still for the Trolls it’s a break from playing ” Call of Duty ” in their mother’s basement and pretending to be a 16 yr old girl online …

  6. Mr Eric Creosote says:

    MYTH – People are living longer which means they’re claiming their pensions for longer – this needs to be addressed.

    The schemes were revised to take account of this three years ago – so scheme benefits and costs are now 25% lower.

    In addition, life expectancy has increased, but less so for manual workers and the low paid.

    MYTH – There’s a big public sector pensions deficit that has to be repaid.

    There is no funding gap – the public sector schemes were assessed for long term risk and adjusted accordingly three years ago and are now very secure.

    Both the local government pension scheme and NHS pension scheme are currently cash rich with income far exceeding outgoings – some £2 billion in the case of the NHS pension scheme.

    MYTH – The proposals mean that those earning over £15,000 pay around 3% more each month – that’s not very much is it?

    3% of your pay is a significant chunk of income. Pension scheme members currently pay around 6% of their salary into their pensions – adding another 3% to this means increasing the payments by around half again.

    The Local Government Association is even worried that this would lead public sector workers to opt out of pension schemes and threaten their affordability.

    MYTH – Public services and public service pensions are causing the financial crisis.

    It was the banking sector’s reckless risk taking and excessive greed that caused this global recession.

    MYTH – We’re all in it together. Everyone has to make sacrifices right now – why not public sector workers?

    We are all facing cuts to our public services – on top of this public service workers are facing unprecedented job cuts and a pay freeze. Is it fair to ask them to pay an average 3% more from their salaries on top of all that in return for a pension with worse benefits?

    We will all end up paying more tax if people drop out of the scheme to end up relying on the state in their old age.

    MYTH – It’s not fair, why should the public sector get good pensions when the private sector doesn’t?

    The average director of a FTSE 100 company has a final salary pension worth £3.6m or £174,963 a year, while the average occupational pension generally is £9,500 a year and the average public service pension is £7,800 a year. That’s the real unfairness.

    UNISON thinks everyone deserves an adequate pension, including workers in the private sector. We should improve bad schemes rather than make good ones bad.

    Providing adequate pensions means that fewer people will be receiving welfare handouts after retirement, which would cost the taxpayer more money in the long run.

    MYTH – Public sector workers have it too good with huge pensions.

    The average public service pension is around £7,800 a year, for women working in local government the average is £2,800 a year, while the median for women working in the NHS is £3,500 a year: hardly huge pensions.

    Saving towards an occupational pension in many cases means a person is receiving fewer welfare benefits during retirement, saving the taxpayer money.

    MYTH – Taxpayers are paying for public service workers’ pensions. That’s not fair.

    Everyone’s taxes are used to pay for all public services – stethoscopes in hospitals, the salaries of primary school teachers, people to change the light bulbs in street lamps, and part of these people’s pay is their pension.

    A pension is part of someone’s salary package and is no different than an annual salary, a car, or the London weighting allowance. It’s not fair to change something in a job contract after someone accepted the job.

    One in five people working in the UK works in public services. They are taxpayers too.

    MYTH – Public service workers retire at 60.

    The normal retirement age in many of the public service pension schemes is already 65.

    Raising the retirement age hurts some people more than others. In general we’re living longer, but that doesn’t mean everyone will have the same quality of life.

    Many public service workers have jobs that are physically demanding or stressful, making it difficult or even impossible to continue working into old age. Similarly many low paid workers simply don’t have the option of retiring early because they can’t afford it.

    Back to Quick Links

    UNISON – the union Osborne is planning a Maxwell style raid on public sector pensions …it’s also ” interesting ” that Dave Snooty and his pals tend to originate from the Financial Industry and it’s in their interests that people would be forced into inferior private pension schemes .

  7. @Geoff M
    “Teach them how to use a knife & fork”??? Er, I may be missing something but that’s not in the curriculum-it’s the PARENT’S job to teach basic skills such as that & they should be doing it way before they start school (unless lazy parents just dish up finger food).
    Also teachers don’t supervise dinner times – it’s the SMSA’s (dinner ladies) so get your facts right before you spout off rubbish.
    It’s people like you that use schools as free childcare, expecting the teachers to cover all the non curriculum stuff like getting dressed & tying shoelaces.
    How many people whose kids can’t read actually put in time to do it at home every night with them too. Learning isn’t restricted to school, parents have a responsibility to put time in to their children too.

    Parents evening is interesting too. It is normally the kids doing the worst whose parents don’t bother to turn up.

    Any one with a child/children, just imagine what it’s like to have a class of 30. All at different levels, some with special needs, some with behavioural problems (no discipline at home to reinforce what the school expects), add a couple of children who don’t speak English, then add the school & Government targets of getting those children to attain the same levels as a child in a nice leafy suburb school.

    Teaching is definitely NOT a cushy job that it was 30yrs ago. The only people qualified to comment on these are people who work in schools & know what teaching is really like. If you think it’s easy, ho volunteer in your local school for a day & have your eyes opened. Rant over.

  8. Levels of literacy gone down. Think levels on non speaking English gone up these are included in levels. Also in mainstream schools the sen increase down syndrome physical difficulties etc which previously would have been in special school also in school data. People need to look at the issues in greater depth before giving an opinion which quite frankly stinks!

  9. I’ve taught for just short of 40 years and I have never been so concerned over the future of schools and education. As I see it the people who run education – not teachers unfortunately – have lost all touch with reality. I think teaching is very simple as long as you don’t try and make it into some wooden box ticking exercise with silly courses called for example curriculum for excellence, which is anything but excellent. If it was excellent people would see that. If you have to call it excellent then there has to be a flaw. But courses where children are supposed to sit and talk and make posters with coloured pencils allow the administrators who produce nothing but cause negative growth with their meaningless targets to blame the teachers. Let teachers teach and get rid of the dead wood that sit in offices. But of course that will never happen its too sensible to establish a climate where teachers can get on with teaching.

  10. Mr Creosote, Thankyou for you intelligent explanations. How bigoted and shallow many people are who write their comments. I wonder if the CONDEMS employ people to write on these comments pages. As for the lack of skills, intelligence etc of our young. May i point out that in the past many, if not all, workers from times past left school with nothing but the basics, due to our flourishing industrial based (formed on the backs of slaves and sugar plantations) the lowly educated human of the 1900s, to the 1970s, worked in factories and mines, these people were expendable work fodder. Hence the coming of the trade union movement. These human robots doff their caps, lived in very basic accomodation, yes even know, did not in most cases own a car, had basic medical attention and died at least 15 years younger than today. They led very simple lives, making tons of babies (in wedlock of course so that was ok), but unable to feed and nurture them in many cases. Now these humans were your grandparents and their parents. A huge selection where killed off in several wars, now called cannon fodder. Many returning home unwanted, maimed and mentally changed forever (much like our brave boys and girls today). Enough was enough the U.K belongs to the many not the few and thant god the trade unions were born. Now the bigots who resent, YOUR job will probably be lost soon, are you going to turn to drink, end up on the streets, become mentally ill, divorced? etc. This is the reality, this was the mad womans Thatchers Britain. The Empire is dead, we do not rule the world. I like living in a cosmopoliton U.K, and maybe just maybe the Polish etc move here because we are so tolerant. Maybe other nationalities move here because we are educated. Cafes are the factories of yesteryear, but we are more informed, more intelligent than our forebears. Dear Bigots of the U.K people are here because we have tons to offer, o yes before i go, many Brits leave these shores and make a new life Spain, Aussie, New Zealand, France to name just a few, mmmmm do their citizens, curse us for taking their homes, their jobs, marrying their men and woman mmmm, food for thought. O yes and many eastern Europeans are struggling here, but will lose face returning to their homelands FACT……………

  11. This is before he got the taste for Murdoch’s empire to build his own ambition. He is still standing by Murdoch after all the scrupulous activities they carried out on innocent people. Gove doesn’t believe in educating every one, he wants a few selected children (like his private school scholarship) to go to his free schools, thus creating more segregation in the society. I don’t want our future children to taught by teachers who are physically and mentally not fit to cope with them in the class room. Once you reached over 60-65, you can carry on with some jobs but not working with young people full time preparing them for their future live. I am sure given the option most of the teachers are happy to use their experience in helping out in education but not as full time teachers!!! It is a long time since both big unions are in agreement to do some thing about Gove taking us back by at least 50 years. I send them my best wishes!!!

  12. This move will mean that excellent teachers are financially penalised for taking jobs in tougher schools, pay based on results can’t fairly cover inner city or deprivation area education where sometimes getting the kids to school at all is a success. And it also addresses the possibility of unqualified teachers- certainly not something I wish to ever see, my children are bright and need to be taught by subject specialists. I do think teaching deserves a good wage- teacher friends work long hours, and to be even legally qualified right now means thousands upon thousands in debts, four years at university. Social Work is similarly paid and shares the legal qualification status. I don’t agree it is always better than private sector either- certainly not in my own work history compared to higher qualified state social worker colleagues.

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