• 2007-10-17
  • Harry Gafney, Riga
Fear of unionism is justified, and if abused, it can bring a country to its knees 's as happened in Britain pre-Margaret Thatcher. Unions' rapacity in industry and the professions is indicative of the tail wagging the dog. On the other hand, abuse of non-union staff by unscrupulous bosses, as already demonstrated in this country, should be dealt with forcibly.
The government of a country is its biggest employer. It's the responsibility of the government to ensure that all public service employees receive a fair slice of the cake 's and not just a select few.
Teachers and medical staff have shown anger and displeasure with the government's indecisiveness in bringing their incomes into line with constantly rising prices, and blame parliamentary ineptitude for their predicament.

They have a point. Normal, decent people don't take to the streets unless forced into a corner. To alienate them would be a mistake 's goodwill, once lost, is difficult to restore.
Some, such as doctors and traffic police can augment their salaries in the age-old manner, teachers cannot. Why should young people aspire to a career in teaching if they cannot take home a living wage? They will continue to go abroad to countries where skill and dedication are recognized and duly rewarded with a commensurate salary. Their home country will be the poorer as families are forced to entrust their children to teachers less interested or talented, and whose performance will correlate to their remuneration.

Your recent contributor ["Pro-union, anti-progress," Letters, TBT #577] is right to be wary of unions, but unfortunately so-called "good" employers are measured purely on salaries and benefits paid to their workers, as he will learn if any of his employees get a better offer from elsewhere. People sometimes have no alternative but to work in poorly paid jobs, there are just not enough adequately paid positions available.

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