A few weeks ago, the Straits Times (ST) published a story about the salary cut that retired teachers would earn if they were re-employed by the Ministry of Education. There was a lot of unhappiness about it and I added my two cents' worth with the following ST Forum letter.
Here's a comparison of what I had emailed to the Straits Times and how it was finally published.
At least this letter wasn't as badly censored as my last submission on my concerns over the children of foreign brides. Some things I learned from this letter:
Why MOE should rehire retirees without pay cutsMOE missed the point on pay-cut policy
I refer to the article, "MOE clears the air over pay cut for rehired teachers" (ST, 9 August).
I was disappointed to read the Ministry of Education's (MOE) response on the issue of salary cuts for rehired teachers ('MOE clears the air over pay cut for rehired teachers'; Tuesday).
MOEThe ministry has failed to graspnot grasped the nature of the public outcrycriticism against this moveits policy. ThisThe criticism was never about the percentage of the cut . Instead, it was that, but about whether there was evenshould have been a pay cut in the first place for theserehired teachers.
FirstlyFirst, a salary is the measure of an employee's value to his employer. By cutting the pay of rehired teachers, MOE impliesthe ministry is implying that theythese teachers are not as valuable to the teaching fraternity.
This is in spite of their many years of professional teaching experience that can be put to valuable use in our schools to nurture our children.
SecondlySecond, MOE saidthe ministry stated that it cutcutting their salaries to allow for "would offer rehired teachers greater flexibility and lighter responsibilities so that they (rehired teachers) can have, thereby offering them more time forwith family and to pursue other personal interests. "
(new paragraph) This implies that rehired teachers who
are able to continue tocan perform the same job scope asway as they did before retirement do not have this option any more.
(new paragraph) Instead, MOE has placed the cart (salaries) before the horse (retirees' abilities). It has
reverted to a "government knows best" mentality anddiminished the retirees' choices for re-employment.
MOEThe ministry has set a very dangerousprecedent for other organizationsorganisations once the Retirement and Re-Employment Act takes effect in January.
It signalsThe signal MOE is sending is that itreduced pay is the "new normal " to offer reduced salarieswhen rehiring retirees, in spite of retirees'their experiences and abilities.
(new paragraph) I hope
that MOEthe ministry will review its pay-cut policy of cutting rehired teachers' salaries, especially in letting themand let rehired staff have more say in their terms of re-employment.
- It is all right to use bullet points.
- The British spelling of "organisations" is with an "s", not a "z". Though I have been led to understand that both forms are acceptable.
- I don't know why the editor prefers "the ministry" to the initials "MOE", since the latter is only one "word" and uses fewer letters (and thus ink, which helps SPH to save on newsprint cost). But if that's how it's done, then I'll do that in future.
- Brevity is preferred over explicit description, e.g. the last two paragraphs.
- DO NOT cast the government in a bad light! No negative adjectives nor labels!