Sunday 12 June 2011

All out to stop the pensions robbery!

This Government thought they could get away with daylight robbery - but we're going to prove them wrong!

They want to steal away our services, our jobs, our NHS – everything that we have won over decades of struggle.

In particular, they want to steal our pensions, the money that we put aside from our salary to ensure at least some kind of a decent retirement.

These increased contributions won't be going to pay for retired colleagues – even the Government's own figures show that the costs of public sector pensions are falling - but to pay for Government debt.

They want to impose an extra tax on public sector workers – when the bankers who got us into this mess are getting away with billions in unpaid taxes.

The message in our campaign to win the strike ballot has been clear - either we strike or we'll end up paying more to get less pension -  and be told to struggle on in work until we're 68!

What kind of education is it where children will have to wait for their teacher’s stair-lift to arrive before class starts?!

What's the logic in keeping over 60's in work while school leavers and university graduates are left without jobs to do?

In schools, all the signs are that the ballot will be won and that ATL and NUT members will be on strike on June 30th. Unfortunately, we won't be joined by the NASUWT, not by support staff unions.

Their leaders have told their members to wait - to wait for the outcome of negotiations. But that caution has only encouraged the Government.

That's why they felt bold enough to come to the negotiating table with even worse proposals. Their plans for  career-average pensions on a miserly accrual rate would be a shattering blow to teacher pensions.

But we need to show the Con-Dems that they have made a serious misjudgement. The mounting anger of teachers on so many issues - on pay, bullying , workload, cuts, Academies - means that they are even more determined to make a stand on pensions.

Unions need to get our message across to parents and the public that "our fight is your fight" - that a defeat for the Government over pensions will be a blow against their whole savage cuts programme.

If we stand together, and mobilise the power of the union movement, it won’t be us but the Government that will have to retreat – just as the last Labour Government had to over their proposed pension 'reforms'.

100,000’s on the march on 26/3 sent a clear warning to the Con-Dems; 800,000 on strike on 30/6 will really start to make them think.

Cable may be making threats against the union movement - but they show his fear - fear that the trade union movement is starting to get organised.

It will take more than one day's action in June to force them back – which is why we need to escalate and extend our action in Autumn. We need every union to be put under such pressure that they have to ballot too – so that we can build from 800,000 to 4 million on strike together.

Together, we can build a mighty movement that can force this Government to retreat – on pensions, jobs and all their attacks.


Anonymous said...

Well what an interesting rant! I speak as a pensions lawyer whose parents both teach. They will both retire this year. One of whom will be 66 when she retires, the other 69.

Your throwaway comments about stairlifts for older teachers are not just silly but also offensive and discriminatory.

Most of the parents of the children your "brothers and sisters" now teach will not have had ANY final salary pension provision at any point in their careers if they have had any pension from their employers at all. I can't really see them coming out on general strike to protect your pensions, can you?

For most teachers salaries will plateau long before they reach retirement age so the changes to pensions - retaining defined benefits but simply moving to revalued average salary instead of final salary - will have little effect in relation to the vast majority of teachers. There may be a few heads of very large schools earning over £100,000 per annum who may see their pensions reduce but they will be a tiny majority and I don't think in Neil Kinnock's immortal words to Arthur Scargill that they will need to be taken out of their misery brother.

Oh and by the way, pensions costs are going up, not because of bankers but because of longevity. Go and look it up.

Anonymous said...

Your comments at least allow me to make a few things clear.

Firstly, as a pensions lawyer, you understand that a career-average salary could, in principle, be introduced in a way that would protect pensions. However, it requires an improved accrual rate - while the Government is proposing a worsened 1/100 accrual rate which will slash pensions for all teachers.

Secondly, if you'd like to 'look it up' you will find that unions agreed to an increase in contributions where a valuation showed that longetivity required it. These proposals aren't based on any valuation at all - just a desire to plug the deficit.

Good luck to those teachers who can - and who want - to work on until 69. Most teachers are too exhausted by the age of 60 - but will now have the chice between retiring 'early' - and giving away their full entitlements - or struggling on in work.