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PT and the Greater Good

Going on Strike

Published October 11, 2011 8:46 AM by Dean Metz

I've received word from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (which is the closest UK equivalent to the APTA but also functions as a trade union) that I have to vote whether or not to go on strike on November 30. Many public workers are going to strike that day to protest changes to the pension plans being imposed by the government. Essentially each individual will have to contribute more each month, wait longer to retire and still have the same payouts come retirement.

A lot of Europe has been striking lately. French air traffic controllers were out on strike today. Greek airlines were on strike last week. The end of November is not a day one will want to try to get things done in England. It seems teachers, train drivers and most public-sector workers will be out that day.

I've never been on strike before. I have no idea what to expect or what to do. I've never been part of a union in my two decades of practice.

I have mixed feelings about certain professions going on strike. Health care professionals, police, firemen, all could have a profound impact by not being around for one day. People could die if treatments are delayed or police aren't on patrol. By the same token, that very fact makes these professions subject to unreasonable demands from governments or corporations. If we won't strike out of feelings of guilt, then we can be walked on.

Are you part of a union? Have you gone out on strike?

3 comments

Toni makes an interesting distinction.  

I don't envy your position at all.

Hope you will post about your decision and the experience, whichever side you fall on.

Janey Goude October 14, 2011 12:50 PM

That's a tough decision.  I think Europeans view work much differently than we do.  A healthcare profession even thinking about going on strike is unheard of in America.  As a whole we are able to separate out differences with the need to do the job.  We put value on what we do.  

I have a friend who lives in Scotland.  To him work is something to be done.  It is taken seriously for what it is. You don't make personal calls on a company cell phone.  You dress nicely and show up ready to get to work.  They seem to put more value on the worker than on the work itself.  So missing a day to improve things for the worker might be reasonable to them.  

I couldn't go on strike because I would worry too much about my patients and what would happen in the absence of therapy.  

Toni Patt October 12, 2011 7:10 PM

I can't imagine going on strike.  I don't know if I would be able to purposely not go to work.  But, I guess if the meaning is strong enough and something you believe in, people can do anything.  

Lisa Mueller October 12, 2011 2:15 PM

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About this Blog


    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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