Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary, reported to the Executive from the pensions ‘talks’ with Government. As Kevin pointed out, after failing to answer union arguments about the ‘affordability’ of our pensions, we can expect press and politicians to continue to try to bend the truth to justify their attacks.
Kevin pointed to the Telegraph’s false claims that supporting public sector pensions cost every household £42,000! But this would only be true if every single one of us died and claimed our pension tomorrow!
The real costs - and confirmation that they are already set to fall - not rise - could be proven if the Government carried out the long-overdue valuation of the scheme - but they still refuse to do so.
Instead, they continue to insist that £2.8 billion has to be cut from pension costs - an unjustified extra tax levied on us to bail out the Government - not to help fund pensions. They also remain insistent that we have to pay more, to get less and to retire older. Don’t be fooled by Danny Alexander’s claims that we will still be able to retire on ‘broadly comparable’ pensions. That’s only if we work on until 68 and pay in those increased contributions right up to our retirement. We’ll be paying so much more in for our pensions that the NUT even estimates that they could afford to cut the 14% employer’s contributions - paving the way for the profiteers to take over privatised public services without having to pay so much for our pensions.
We expect Ministers to ‘spin’ the real facts - but we hope other unions won’t be distorting the truth to justify their own failure to ballot for the June 30 action. Our solid action has forced the Government to think - but not yet to make any significant concessions. ‘Consultations’ are starting over the summer - but ‘talks’ alone will achieve nothing but a damaging deal - unless they see we are ready to escalate action.