Readers' letters: There's nothing selfish about taking strike action
Let’s debunk any suggestion that those working in public services strike because in some way they expect to be “bailed out”.
Contrary to popular belief, wages in the public sector have stagnated for the last decade and more.
Private sector employees may not have felt the squeeze as much, though their bosses, along with Westminster MPs have more than profited (salaries having gone up up from £60k to £80k plus expenses) following Gordon Brown's 2008 bank bailout. The sales of yachts, luxury items and expensive properties have grown by leaps and bounds and the one per cent have got wealthier and wealthier.
Contrast this with the ridiculous increase in energy prices, both for heating and petrol along with that of rents and food.
It is not selfish to go on strike when you are no longer able to cope due to staff shortages (thank you Brexit), rundown facilities and the painful struggle to keep anything like acceptable services going.
A lot of people take jobs in the public sector because they genuinely believe in public service, and whilst they know they won’t get rich, doing a job interacting with and/or supporting the public along with a decent pension, is what motivates them. But when the cost of public transport, childcare, rent or mortgage and food cannot be met out of salaries of around £30k, what are people meant to do?
The Royal College of Nursing, which used to have Rule 12, a no strike rule, have come out for the first time ever. Sorry, but clapping is not enough.
Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh
Food for thought
I write regarding the article about schools dishing out shortbread and Irn-Bru to celebrate Robert Burns (News, 31 January). I can understand the “lost the plot” mentality, but the teachers are parents too, so it stems all the way back to their parents when classifying junk food as the norm today.
The activity levels of children today in a week doesn’t even compare to what we were like as kids in the 60s to the 80s in one day. All lines are truly blurred when it comes to "treat” and “food”.
The work/life/leisure and pleasure balance means that for some kids, and adults, treats like Irn-Bru and shortbread are a luxury!
Friday is our film and treat night. We do it to blot out how miserable life is today with utility bills going from £300 to £450 next month.
There’s a saying that we eat and drink in excess not to feel good, but to stop us feeling bad. Until we address that imbalance in Scotland, this subject will always be divisive.
Glen Eadie, Edinburgh
I write as a grandparent of a pupil at Dalkeith High School who could be a victim of cuts in the education budget being proposed by Midlothian Council.
The learning and study of music from an early age is equally as important as the “the three rs” in any child’s education. When John Knox declared in the 16th century “Let there be a school in every parish” he set out a standard which made Scotland the most literate nation in Europe 200 years later.
This tradition of a well-rounded education has been maintained ever since and any reduction of subjects and standards is to be deplored.
My granddaughter has benefitted throughout he school career by good tuition in all academic subjects and her interest in music has developed over the years to her personal benefit and the pleasure of others.
Any reduction in musical tuition should be resisted by all concerned, either by personal petition or, ultimately, by the ballot box.
Sandy Macpherson, Edinburgh
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