Thursday, March 16, 2023

Labour's austerity victimises teachers

Primary, secondary and kindergarten teachers are all on strike today, demanding higher pay and an end to systematic understaffing. While the former is important - wages should at least keep up with inflation - its the latter which is the real issue. As with the health system, teachers have been asked to do more and more with less and less, with the government exploiting their professionalism and sense of duty to their students to keep them in line. And as with the health system, it appears to have reached a breaking point. It takes a lot to get teachers to go on strike; simultaneous strikes across the whole sector is a terrible "achievement" for a Labour government.

Education Minister Jan Tinetti apparently acknowledged that the system was broken. Which is nice performative handwringing, but its not going to solve the problem. To do that, the government actually has to offer more. So far they've simply refused, and Labour's commitment to austerity, to keeping taxes on rich MPs low, doesn't give much cause for hope.

Let's be clear about this: this is not a case of the government being unable to afford to properly resource the education (or health) sector. The government is a government and can have as much money as it wants. The problem is that the government chooses not to resource those sectors. It is running down and starving core functions, gutting our state, because it would rather do that than tax the rich fairly (and again, we need to remember here that all MPs and Ministers are rich). You expect that sort of shit from national and ACT, the traditional parties of rich arseholes. Labour doing it just makes them traitors to their own voters.