A Conservative councillor has suggested that teachers who did not return to work at the start of the new term should be sacked. In a Facebook comment, he said, “Should do what Reagan did when the Air Traffic Controllers decided to strike: he sacked those who didn’t return to work! Had the deserved result.”
Cllr. David Burgess-Joyce, who is the Conservative councillor for the Greasby, Frankby and Irby ward, has been critisised for his comments by teachers’ union NEU.
Bora Oktas, Regional Officer of the NEU said, “Wirral residents will be aware that this is not the first time that Cllr Burgess-Joyce has made ill-informed, intemperate and offensive comments on social media. Teachers have played an admirable and courageous role in protecting our communities from an alarming increase in local coronavirus rates and we wouldn’t want to detract from that by providing his latest nonsense with undue oxygen, other than to say that any pent up frustration he has about the regrettable situation the nation finds itself in would be better directed at members of his own party’s parliamentary front-bench”.
Some teachers had stayed at home on the first day of term over safety and protocol concerns regarding COVID-19 at their schools.
Mick Whitley, MP for Birkenhead told birkenhead.news, “Throughout this terrible year teachers and other education staff have played an incredibly valuable role supporting children and working overtime to ensure that they suffer as little disruption as possible. Their trade unions have been at the forefront of proposing workable solutions to the problems caused to schools and colleges by the pandemic. Compare this with the Conservative Government’s record of flip flops, u-turns and chaos with regards to education. From school dinners to exams, from ignoring the unions to actually agreeing with them just this week, from denouncing Labour for it proposals on free wifi to trying to rush it out to kids obliged to learn at home, the Conservative government’s record on education is a catalogue of disasters.
“It is astonishing that Cllr David Burgess-Joyce should call for the teachers unions to be treated in the way Patco union members were by President Reagan in the US. Remember they were arrested for exercising a legal right to strike and shackled to lamp posts at airports as a form of painful humiliation. They were sacked as part of a vicious union busting campaign. While I understand he has now withdrawn his comment, for a person in an elected office to even suggest that the very teachers who so many children rely on should be sacked demonstrates what I can only assume is a pathologically driven antipathy to trade unions. Thankfully the unions have correctly put the health and safety of staff, pupils and their families first. And the government reluctantly accepted they were right.
“But Cllr Burgess’ original comment smacks of the Education Minister’s comments last year which tried to demonise loyal and dedicated key workers as so called ‘militant teachers’. That feeble ploy blew up in his face. Perhaps Cllr Burgess-Lloyd fears that his original comment was about to suffer a similar fate.”
The Tory councillor is no stranger to controversy. In 2016, David Burgess-Joyce was “dismissed for misconduct” by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Mr Burgess-Joyce rejected allegations of any wrongdoing at the NCA, saying at the time, “I totally refute any allegations of untoward expenses claims on my part during my time working with the agency.”
He attracted significant criticism in July 2019 when he accused MP David Lammy of causing “more damage to community cohesion than any KKK member.” The Ku Klux Klan are a United States based hate group that believes in white supremacy and white nationalism. Since 1865, the KKK has been responsible for the murder and persecution of black people.
Cllr Burgess-Joyce later apologised for the “unacceptable analogy”.
He also claimed he had apologised to the Labour MP and said his words were “crass” and “inappropriate.”
birkenhead.news asked Conservative Councillor David Burgess-Joyce for comment on this matter, but at the time of publication, he had not responded.
birkenhead.news asked the Wirral West Conservative constituency group for comment on this matter, but at the time of publication, they had not responded.
birkenhead.news asked the Wirral and West Cheshire Conservative group for comment on this matter, but at the time of publication, they had not responded.
Main Image credit: John Brace – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1KkS6Glack, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80490834