IN her article (Equal pay fight is about justice, not Unionism, The National, October 29) Carolyn Leckie is correct in supporting the right of the teachers and women fighting for equal pay to demonstrate. The concern is that many will see this as unions backed by the Labour Party supporting them and their cause.

They didn’t when the Labour Party controlled Glasgow City Council and when, for example, they privatised cleaning services rather than improve working conditions. Where have they been over these years when Glasgow City Council was controlled by Labour?

Then again the trade union leaders wouldn’t get far in the Labour hierarchy, like Richard Leonard has, if they rocked the boat. Or is it just a coincidence these actions in Glasgow happened within 18 months of Labour losing control in Glasgow City Council?

Remember that austerity policies are the real cause of the decline in teachers’ wages and that Labour voted with the Conservatives in 2015 to continue these austerity policies while SNP voted against. Remember that, due to extra funding by the SNP government, teachers in Scotland currently get higher wages than in England and Wales with the lowest-paid teachers in Scotland getting 18% more. Remember that, had it not been for the SNP, teachers and everyone else would be paying for nursery education and school meals for their own children and, while training, would have to have found more than £36,000 to pay for tuition fees as they do in England and Wales. Remember that, while the current offer doesn’t restore wages to where they should be, it is better than what is being proposed in England and Wales.

While the teachers had the perfect right to demonstrate, why did the EIS allow Leonard to address the teachers’ demonstration? Where does the Labour Party suggest the extra money come from when Labour-backed austerity policies are the principle cause of the decline of salaries? Yet if there is any increase in the offer Labour will certainly now try to claim the credit. The concern is that some will be misguided into believing Labour are really there for them and vote for them in a General Election. This would only weaken the case for devolved powers and the case for a future vote on independence in the eyes of Westminster. It is important that Labour’s involvement is seen as what it is, political opportunism.
Jim Stamper

LOOKING at the pictures of teachers marching over their pay reminds me of the time in about 1970 when I took the day off work and, along with colleagues from all over England, went to Westminster as part of a mass lobby of MPs for better pay for teachers. That was about 50 years ago, and I expect that in another 50 years teachers will be complaining about their low pay.

I have no doubt that teaching is not easy work, which is why I left after a couple of years. I have a number of friends from those days who retired very early because their health was impacted. I suspect that teachers today get no more support from parents and the community than I got 50 years ago.

Teachers have a very important job to do educating the nation’s children. Unfortunately they will not be educating the ruling classes who go to private schools where the children learn that their destiny is to control the world. As Stanley Johnson said of his son: “Boris wants to be king of the world.”

It is a truism that most people feel they are underpaid for the work they do and that includes our politicians, many of whom set the conditions of our own employment and ability to earn a living.

In about 1990, the company I was then working for had a meeting regarding pay at which the Tory chairman of the board used inaccurate figures and accounting methods to show that our pay was more than adequate. He ended his spiel by telling us: “Remember what we did to the miners in 1984.”

As a pensioner, I gather that my state pension is among the lowest in Europe. Government ministers have said that people of my age should be replacing the workforce of itinerant workers from Europe who work in our agricultural and horticultural sectors. I presume this is meant as a replacement of our pensions rather than a supplement to them.
Robert Mitchell

EVEN if a future Labour government is able to find a way to write off student debt for non-devolved-funded education, graduates would still have a moral debt to the public – many of whom are quite poor. This could be repaid by loyalty to the national economy.

The country needs clever people to reconstruct our imbalanced, battered economy, not flit away to Australia or the US to earn selfish, larger salaries. We need a spirit of mutuality, collaboration and compatriotism to emerge in Britain, where it becomes an anathema to any compatriot to design a product only to have it manufactured in Singapore, or anywhere else.
Geoff Naylor