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String the Striking University Lecturers up with piano wire – greedy bastards

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 31 October 2013

I write as the son of a retired University Lecturer and the husband of a practising one, who is NOT on strike today. But many of her colleagues (some of whom I shall be meeting on bonfire night) are withdrawing their labour today. This is a politically motivated strike by greedy bastards who should be string up with piano wire.

Lecturers have a cushy deal. By your late thirties you can expect to be earning c£40,000 a year. You do not actually have to attend your institution of learning more than two or three days a week but can work from home. “Office hours” are not exactly those we in the private sector are used to. There is no 6 am alarm call and daily grind to hit your desk at work by 7 AM. Or even 9 AM.

Although nominal holidays are 25 days a year during the 20 weeks of vacation (plus reading weeks etc) lecturers do not actually have to er…lecture. They rarely have to pop into the factory and it is quite normal for them to spend the summer “working” from Tuscany.

It is almost impossible to be fired. Being lazy or useless is not enough. You need to be found guilty of gross moral turpitude which means some really heinous offence like reading the Daily Mail or having a picture of Nigel Farage on your wall. This is a job for life at the end of which there is a very generous pension scheme funded by the grateful taxpayer.

And yet the bastards are going on strike because they say that a 1% pay rise is not enough. In real terms they have had a 13% pay cut since 2008.  As you would expect from such folks the maths is just 100% wrong.

The 1% is the blanket award given to all lecturers whether they are good bad or indifferent. But every year large numbers of lecturers either get promoted (internally or with an external posting) or are re-graded internally. As such there are many lecturers who will be earning 10% or 15% more this year than they did in 2012. One would hope that it is the better lecturers who are getting the bigger hikes.

What the University Unions are demanding is that there is a real (i.e. inflation beating) pay rise for ALL staff however useless and then there will be the promotions and re-gradings for the better staff as a bonus.

The Unions argue that they need to beat inflation (i.e. to improve their standard of living). One of the main drivers of inflation is house prices and the nice Middle Class folks who work in our Universities have a far higher home-owning percentage than the population as a whole and own far more valuable properties than the population as a whole. So they are big winners from booming house prices but expect to be compensated for it as well.

At every level the relatively small number of folks who voted for strike action are greedy bastards. They are also, in many cases, politically motivated. This is a chance to show the wicked frigging Tories that the workers will not be beaten.

At every level I view such folks with utter contempt. My father used to make a point of walking through picket lines accompanied by his friend the late Bill Whitehead who was a total superstar. My Mrs is not going that far but I am proud that the woman formerly known as the deluded lefty is NOT striking today. Good for her.

Those thousands of lecturers who are on strike will gain no sympathy from the public, from students and deserve no sympathy. When the great libertarian anarcho-capitalist revolution comes those folks will be among the first to suffer a meeting with piano wire.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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