Teachers who are planning on striking in Hampshire have reacted angrily after an MP told them they were lucky to have their jobs.
Desmond Swayne MP was responding to a trade union letter outlining reasons for the planned strike by teachers told them they should remember that times were hard by saying “You have a job and many don’t”.
Tom Roberts, a teacher at Priestlands School in Lymington for ten years, forwarded it on to Mr Swayne, New Forest West MP in order to draw his attention to the feeling among teachers.
Mr Roberts said he was shocked by the MP’s reply, saying “I just could not believe his response. He was basically saying that we don’t matter. I emailed him back to ask him whether this was really what he meant to say to the people who voted him in. I don’t think that someone in his position should be talking to people like this and I would suggest he reviews what he has said.”
Secretary of Southampton National Union of Teachers Pete Sopowski said: “Mr Swayne would do well to remember that it was the morals of the shop floor on which the wealth of this nation were built. “It was only by striking that the ladies of Dagenham, for example, secured equal pay for women.”
However Mr Swayne, who was a teacher for seven years, is standing by his comments. He told our local newspaper the Daily Echo “I gave a robust response to a standard union letter which is what people can expect. It would be different if I was sent a personal handwritten letter from a constituent. Teachers do have relatively secure jobs and well paid jobs along with a good pension that many people do not have. I don’t believe that they can call themselves a profession while at the same time taking strike action.”