Christine Blower (General Secretary NUT)
Joe Morgan (Regional Secretary GMB)
Paul Mackney (Ex. General Secretary UCU)
Sian Ruddick (PCS Midlands Chair)
James Anthony (UNISON University Hospital Chair)
Edd Bauer (National Executive Committe, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts)
Sarah Barton (Bournville School anti-academy campaign)
Chaired by Bryan Nott (Kings Heath and Moseley Labour Party)
Please attend our Facebook Event, and invite your friends to let them know this event is happening
The coalition is destroying our welfare state. It is privatising the NHS and slashing services to youth, old people, the poor and the disabled. The rest of us suffer with loss of jobs or cuts in real pay of up to 10%.
Their latest attack is on public sector workers’ pensions.
These are among the lowest in Europe and fully funded by workers contributions. The real scandal is that private employers have been allowed to provide even lower pensions or no pension at all.
The unions say the pensions changes will leave them working longer, paying more and getting less when they retire. Contributions to the scheme will rise, by up to £1,250 / year for teachers, whilst the retirement age will be increased and pensions payments reduced, firstly by moving from RPI to CPI to calculate increases, and secondly by changing from a final salary scheme to a career average scheme.
At our public meeting on May 26th, Doug Morgan from NUT spoke about public sector pensions, debunking some of the myths surrounding “gold-plated” pensions. The average public sector pension is around £4,000 per year. He also argued that the only thing maintaining private sector pensions (which he described as awful) were the public sector pensions (described as OK).Like the teachers, other public sector workers are taking industrial action over changes to the pension scheme, which will see them contribute more, work longer and get less once they retire.
Cuts to pensions form just one part of the attack on public services being carried out by this government, and this action is taken in the context of the austerity agenda being foisted on this country by an ideological government committed to neo-liberalism and a small state, and perfectly happy to let vulnerable people fend for themselves instead of us all working together to provide the best life for everyone.
The right wing press have already been running articles designed to soften the support for these strikes. They portray strikers as selfish public sector workers, who have already got it so goodbut aren’t content with that. They compare the “gold-plated” public sector pensions (average around £4,000 per year) to the poor private sector provision.We need to be prepared to defend striking workers here – not in terms of the workers, but in terms of everyone else.
These strikes are being undertaken to defend services – an attack on the pay and conditions of public sector workers is an attack on the services themselves, as reducing the rewards for a job disincentivises it. We need to be arguing against making this a race to the bottom when we hear people talking about how public sector pensions are so great and why should they have it so good when the rest of us are suffering. And it is clearly not fair that public sector workers often have better pensions than private sector workers – but the answer to that is not to make public sector pensions worse, it is to improve private sector pensions.
Public sector workers are striking for all of us on November 30th. The resistance is growing:
March 26 demonstration 500,000
June 30th strikes 1,000,000
November 30th strikes 3,000,000
Next year? 20,000,000 ?
The coalition can be beaten. There is an alternative.
Support the strike.
Leaflets are available, email BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com if you would like some to deliver.
You can download and print an A4 poster advertising the event here
We will be organising many leafleting events to build for this meeting, and for the strike on 30th November.
More details about the strike day itself will become available as unions announce their ballot results and plans get put into place.