Hard lessons on scarce jobs
One job at Dublin Londissupermarket - 600 applicants queue
There is no better example of this than teachers in Ireland. The big three teacher unions have their annual conferences every Easter, and this year their behavior showed a disconnect from reality and a selfishness that was breathtaking.
One young teacher tackled the Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe at a conference and told him the cutbacks meant that she had to live on just €90 a week. But when journalists dug into her case they discovered that, at the age of 26, she was actually earning €40,000 euro a year. Like all teachers here she was well paid.
Plus teachers have total job security. Plus, like all state workers, they have guaranteed pensions that cost them, even with the recently introduced levy, less than half what a similar pension would cost on the open market.
And of course, the big plus for teachers is that they get three or four months holiday every year. On full pay.
Teachers have it good in Ireland. They are paid between 30 percent and 40 percent more than teachers in Britain. And it's not reflected in their performance ... in fact over 20 percent of children coming out of the Irish school system are functionally illiterate in English and incompetent in basic math.
To pay the teachers inflated salaries for their short working week (they do less hours in class per year here than teachers in the U.S. and in most European countries), the government is now cutting back on other areas in the education budget. So the school building program, extra teachers for immigrant kids with no English, and other extra school services are all being hit.
And the teachers are up in arms, screaming about an attack on children and using that as a smokescreen to deflect attention away from their own pay and conditions.
Remember that old Pink Floyd classic? Teacher, leave them kids alone!