Monday, December 23, 2019

50 Years Ago: Fair Play for Teachers (2011)

The 50 Years Ago column from the October 2011 issue of the Socialist Standard

How many schoolteachers have spent how much time telling how many classes that an Englishman’s word is his bond, and that the road to happiness is paved with honesty and truthfulness?

Anybody who took this seriously must have been shocked by the recent government decisions to ignore the recommendations of the Civil Service Arbitration Tribunal, to restrict the statutory Wage Councils and virtually to destroy the Burnham Committee. And all this from an upstanding Englishman like Mr Selwyn Lloyd!

In fact, the teachers are wasting their time if they are pining for fair play, for there is no such thing in the class war. The Ministry of Education, for example, took over the Burnham Committee’s functions because the government decided that the committee was being too generous to the teachers.

This makes no sense if we are looking for fair play. But in terms of the conflict of interest between any employer and his employees, it makes very good sense indeed. Teachers as a whole, like many civil servants and other white collar workers have always denied the existence of the class struggle. But it exists for them just as much as for the miner and the docker.

That is one of the things Mr. Selwyn Lloyd seems to be doing his best to teach them. Let us hope they turn out to be bright, receptive pupils.

(from News in Review, Socialist Standard, October 1961)

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