You probably know that yesterday hundreds of thousands of teachers and other public sector workers were on strike. There has been a lot of negativity about this in the press; I understand the frustration for parents with childcare issues however I truly and honestly believe in the cause we were striking and fighting for.
The issues for teachers are massive so I will just limit it to the effects on myself to explain to you – At the moment I pay about 6% of my salary into a pension; the government wants this raised by a further 3 – 4% which will be about £100 a month more. Furthermore, the age at which i can now retire is being raised to 68 and the amount I will recieve is being cut – a lot. Also the pension structure itself is changing massively; at the moment we have final salary pensions which means we retire on a percentage of our final salary – the changes being implemented would mean that my pension would be calculated on my average salary over the course of my employment as opposed to the amount I earned during my last few years of service.
On top of that from next year my pay will be frozen for two years so in real terms I am looking at a cut of 10% from my take home pay. I love teaching, think it is brilliant but it is hard and it is undervalued and it is underpaid. Yes I am immeasurably grateful that I have a job at all, let alone one I love as much as I do but these issues are too big and too much. It feels like public sector employees are being targeted and bearing the brunt of the financial mess we are in.
I can not imagine teaching until I am 68 – my school is tough; we have fights, screaming shouting, I never switch off and never stop thinking about my kids and work and what needs to be done. There is never an off moment or a time when I can think wow, everything is done! I’m not complaining – I love it all really but our pensions are a big pull; lots of teachers become teachers in the first place on that basis alone. If you take away something we rely on to make up the deficit in earnings between public and private workers then what is left?
One of the arguments that frustrates me the most in this whole debate is the issue of private sector pensions being attacked previously and how they are not as good as our ‘gold plated’ ones – how is there any sense in attacking public sector pensions as a response to anger at the state of private sector ones? Surely we should be campaigning for equal, fair pensions for all rather than trying to destroy all pensions all together? I have heard some teachers say that the only way to demonstrate how angry we are is to just stick to our contracted hours and do the bare minimum to highlight how hard we really work; no after school clubs, no lunch activities, no late night or weekend or half term trips, no early morning breakfast clubs – just our contracted hours. For me this seems so sad; it will be the children who miss out initially and most dramatically here yet until we are appreciated and valued how else can we proceed?
- The boy and I have found a new house and it has a WALK IN WARDROBE! I am so excited, you have no idea. My dress collection is fast becoming obscene and the hundreds that i have are very excited at the prospect of all that space! It also has a massive garden with mint plants and strawberries! I can almost taste the summer cocktails!
- We are heading off to Germany in three short weeks and I can’t wait! It will be bliss to relax and explore and eat Bratwurst!