Yesterday, in England, there was a teachers' strike. The profession is fighting the government who intend to increase the retirement age of teachers and increase the employee contribution to their pension plan (compared to what most English workers have to put up with it is an excellent pension scheme at present). Today, I read that doctors are planning similar action for similar reasons.
Nobody likes having their standard of living lessened or to be surprised by changes to what they have been promised in the future. As an ordinary human being, with the ordinary human tendency towards self-interest, I sympathise with them. But, as a socialist and Christian, I am incredibly uneasy about all this. You see, in my country, teachers earn a very good wage and doctors earn an obscene amount of money. They are also intelligent and well organised collectively. When they lose a day's pay because they are on strike it must be annoying for them but it doesn't make a huge difference to their lives. On the other hand there are many workers in England, whose standard of living is being reduced by government initiated austerity measures, who already struggle just to provide for their their families and themselves because of low wages. For them, strikes are personally extremely sacrificial. Also, they are not as well organised as those in the middle class professions or as savvy when it comes to taking on employers.
The teachers and doctors are, in my opinion, being selfish. If they win then the poorly paid will suffer the consequences. Of course, if the teachers and doctors were including the lowly paid in other occupations, in particular those occupations that support doctors and teachers, within their action, refusing to accept a deal unless it was the same deal for everyone, then their action could be seen as righteous. But they are not and they never do. In both the teaching profession and within the medical profession, those in the higher paid posts always organise separately, always make their own pay and conditions claims, and never tie these in with the aspirations of the lower paid staff.
From where I stand, trying to survive on £600 per month, teachers and doctors are as much a part of the problem as bankers and other big business fat cats. They don't have to be but they choose to be.