Good morning, readers. It’s 11:30am here in London and that massive, multi-union strike I told you about the other day is now underway. My family had planned to visit Westminster today, but it’s off the table now. I get enough of the Big Labor mob scene back in the States. No need to expose the kids to it during their vacation.
Speaking of kids, hundreds of thousands of them have been abandoned by their public union teachers who refuse to contribute a smidge more to their pensions like most every one of their private-sector counterparts: “More than half of schools in England are closed or partially closed as hundreds of thousands of public sector workers strike over pension changes. The government said information from 75% of its 21,500 state schools showed only a third would remain fully open.”
Also AWOL: 90 percent of the London police force. And airports are bracing for long delays and reduced security manpower.
BBC’s liveblog coverage is here.
The UK Telegraph’s live coverage is here. A taste of the entitlement-mongering chants from the teachers’ unions…just as inane over here as they are in America:
Richard Alleyne, one of The Daily Telegraph’s staff reporters, sends a dispatch from the march through central London.
Lecturers at Lambeth College have included a skeleton on their picket line. His name is Frederick and he is normally used as a teaching aid by Angus Pickthall for his sports science lessons. “I just wanted to show that we will all be working at his age from now on.
Around 300 lecturers from the college have also been marching through Brixton chanting slogans, includng: “You say cut back, we say fight back.” And “Michael Gove you are in detention, hands off teacher’s pensions.
The London Evening Standard tries to inject some reason:
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However crucial the work of teachers and other public sector workers, they cannot be exempt from the problems affecting pensions overall. We are living longer and it is increasingly difficult for public provision to cover the cost of state pensions. Lord Hutton, whose report provides the basis for the reform plans, has called the existing situation untenable.
The Government is requiring teachers and other public sector workers to pay more towards their pensions, to work longer and to accept a pension based on their average wage over the course of their career rather than their final salary. These are not unreasonable demands; even if the reforms are implemented in full, public sector workers will still have a better pensions deal than most private sector employees, though that is not to say much.
It is unjust to expect the majority of the workforce to continue to pay for those in the public sector to have a far more generous pension than they will get themselves. A secure pension is a fair recompense for a career in public service but that pensions deal has to be realistic. The teachers and other state sector strikers risk forfeiting public sympathy if they do not acknowledge as much.
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