by Lihle Z Mtshali, the mother of an awesome daughter and columnist for the Sunday Times. Find her on twitter @lihle_z
I would tell them that people who work for the government, which includes teachers, are on strike because they want to be paid more than they’re being paid now, so they can live a better life. But unfortunately when they strike other people suffer because nurses are on strike, too, and so there is no-one taking care of patients at hospitals. What is fortunate is that there are ordinary people who are willing to go to hospital to help take care of the sick people.
by Joy Dembo, married, with an 18 yr old son and a 25 yr old daughter. Recruitment Response Handling Consultant and Freelance Copywriter, vegetarian and animal lover. Here’s her blog.
I would make it clear to a child that if there was no exploitation, there would never have been a need for unions, collective bargaining and strikes, in the first place. By the same token, I would explain that sometimes workers make unreasonable demands and then try and bring companies, Governments etc to their knees by striking and causing chaos and loss of production. I would make it clear that you cant just down tools to get what you want! You must have a valid gripe before you can consider striking. I would also impress upon them the need for compromise on both sides, during negotiations, much like negotiating a bed time, or how much TV they are allowed to watch. In short, I would explain that “downing tools” has a place in the labour market, but only if it’s organised and legal, AND only if the strikers are not providing an essential service. If the police and medical sectors strike en masse, lives will be lost and that’s not ok!
I tell my kids that the teachers would like to get paid more and they are allowed to strike. This means they can stop working because they are having a disagreement with the government. They are not, however, allowed to hurt anyone or break anything. Those teachers who are behaving very badly are not doing what one is supposed to do when one strikes. As a teacher, I feel that the strikers who are behaving very badly are losing credibility with their students. How do you behave like thugs and when the strike is over walk into your classroom and expect your students respect you?
by Jeanine Ozrechowesky, PR consultant and passionate mother to 2 16 yr old twins, Gabyu and Nina. Find her on twitter @JeannineOrz
I tell them that there are many sides to the story. That the civil servants do deserve more money but that their behaviour is unacceptable. That the government should get its priorities right and pay the people whose services we need the most, the salaries they deserve.