Tomorrow myself and millions of other public sector workers across the UK: teachers, physios, carers, administrators, civil servants, bin men, bus drivers, librarians and so on will be taking industrial action
. I have heard it said that there has not been a strike of this scale since ...well, since the last time we were trapped under a Tory government.
Unfortunately, Pensions are not the easiest things to explain to people why we are striking and a lot of people are getting muddled thinking it's about the state pension, which is AN issue, but not this issue.
The reason we are striking is that the government have announced that our pension schemes will be cut (unless we were within a couple of years of retirement anyway). They say it is because of the economy crisis, the banks failing etc. They say it is becuase public sector workers have been priviledged against the private sector for "too long" and also because our pensions are "gold plated".
1. We pay into our pensions out of our wages. Under the new plans we pay more of our wages into the pensions and receive less pension at the end.
2. Some of the jobs in the public sector are done by dedicated people who do not get, or ever expect to get, a great wage for doing so. - The government are basically saying that they don't give a damn about this, about the people who care for their grannies when they are ill, who teach their children, who do a myriad of unseen, unappreciated tasks.
3. The average pension for an NHS worker is £3,500. The average pension for a library assistant in the council is something around £6,000. I can't find any concrete information about what an MP's pension is but roughly speaking they can retire far sooner than public sector workers and receive a pension of around £24,000. Their yearly pay packet is around £65,738 per YEAR
. Paramedics, Carers, Physios on average I would estimate earn less than a quarter of this per year.
They are already raising the retirement age to 67. By the time retire it might be 77, or 87. But more than that: David Cameron's just bought a new house
If the economic situation is so terrible, the politicians should all first agree to cut their own wages to, say, £40,000 per annum (still higher than most public sector workers would earn ever) and then cut their own pensions substantially, before going around cutting mine.
So tomorrow, we will march. Anyone in the Warrington Area, please be aware there is a rally from 11.45 on Horsemarket Street to the town hall, and then a couple of hours of activities there
. There are also rallies taking place in most major cities. THey are not necessarily well publicised because information about union activities is not permitted to be passed around in work.
If you aren't in the public sector, please realise that even though this is about our pensions, it is all part of a wider issue in which the government continue to seem determined to barge their way to clearing this debt and don't give a hoot about the ruin of normal people in their wake. I don't know if this strike will do anything. I hope it will at least make people realise that when they stand there talking about 'gold plated this' and the 'wastes' of the public sector, that our jobs are worth something to the country, and that we are bloody well entitled to some security for our future.
If you do see people picketing when you're about tomorrow, I hope you will show us some support. If the people around you are anything like the ones from my job, we don't want to do it. We are still praying the government will see sense and then the strike can be called off. We don't want to miss a days work, to cause inconvenience, but We can't
just roll over and do nothing when we are about to be screwed over by them.