Tag Archives: pensions
In Birmingham, around 150 Unite, PCS and UCU members went from their picket lines to a small demonstration led by Unite health workers at the QE Hospital, which was followed by an indoor rally, with speakers from the unions involved in Birmingham, and the Midlands TUC.
Videos of the rally are available to watch here
Sian Ruddick, PCS, chair of meeting
Today is important, we’re proving to the government that we haven’t gone away, we are fighting and we will continue to fight them until we win
Lee Baron, Midlands TUC
[CWU members] will have refused to cross the picket lines that so many of your members were on this morning, when we do that, we break the law, we’re not allowed to do it. But we work on a fairly simple principle – that we’d rather break that law than break your picket lines any day of the week
Frank Keogh, Chair of Unite Health Sector
We don’t think this is fair for our health sector workers … to pay more, work longer and get less
It’s about patient services, it’s about making sure we can still recruit and retain the best people in the health sector to deliver patient services to our communities
Kathy Taylor, President Elect UCU
The facts are that our pension scheme is healthy, it’s sustainable. Public sector pension costs are going down. The actual facts are that this government was not carrying out reform, this governments intention is to actually bring the whole public service pension down. Their intention is to rob us of our members money in order to compensate for the financial irresponsiblity and the bankers chaos that we are facing.
Dave Bean, Vice President PCS
It’s also about privatisation. The treasury minister, Danny Alexander, told parliament that he was cutting our pensions to make them substantially more affordable to alternative providers … that is why they are attacking our pensions to make them cheaper for private industry to come and take our jobs off us.
Emma, Disabled People Against Cuts
We’re fighting at the moment against a huge onslaught of cuts against disabled people. By the age of 65, one in two of you will be covered by the disability discrimination act … we’re hoping that by standing with the public service unions and by standing with you in all of this that you’ll come and support us in return next time we are fighting against another swinging cut to our disability living allowance, to our health care, our social care and so on and so forth
I’m bringing solidarity from the National Union of Teachers … your strike today is keeping the struggle against what the tories are doing over pensions and public services in general alive
The meeting will have PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka and NUT Dept General Secretary (and lead pensions negotiator for the NUT) speaking on the platform as well as a private sector pensions striker from Unilever speaking too.
Thursday 26th January, 6:30pm, Council Chamber, Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B1 1BB
The government’s “final offer” is no improvement. There is no extra money on offer. The government still wants public sector workers to work longer, pay more and get less. They haven’t moved on core issues:
* Fifty percent rise in pension contributions.
* Normal pension age to rise to the state retirement age. Retirement at 68 for those 34 and under.
* Pensions indexed at CPI instead of RPI. A cut for all existing pensioners.
We agree with those union general secretaries who are against accepting this offer. We ask all union general secretaries, if it was right to strike against these proposals on November 30th how it can be right to accept them now? Ordinary trade union members have demonstrated their determination to resist these unfair and unnecessary changes; we call on our trade union leaders reject the Government’s bullying tactics and reject their unacceptable offer.
You should also talk to you union rep, branch chair/secretary, regional chair/secretary and write to the executives of your union to make sure they know that we do not want to accept the ConDems paltry offer, that all public sector unions stand together for a fair deal on pensions for everyone, and that we will not back down.
The pensions are being cut to pay for the deficit that the bankers caused. The Hutton report found that public sector pensions are sustainable, and many unions report that their pension schemes are in surplus.
We should not accept any cuts to pensions, because cuts to pensions are not necessary, and will hurt people in their retirement.
We will not work longer, pay more and get less to pay for the banks mistakes.
There are alternatives to the cuts, and to austerity and neo-liberal economics. Join us in 2012 to campaign for the alternative, for economic justice and for a fair pension for everyone.
You can get details of local rallies and the main TUC march here – please let us know if your workplace has a picket and we’ll add it to the list – and take a photo on the day and send it to BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com.
The dispute in the strike is about pensions. But that is not all it is about. Unions cannot legally strike over cuts, it must be a specific dispute with their employer.
The pensions changes are part of the cuts. The Hutton Report (the definitive pensions report) told us that public sector pensions are sustainable. The extra money paid each month, the money saved by making people retire later and get less in their retirement, will not go to the pension funds, they go towards paying off the deficit.
So this strike is about cuts, but it’s also about more than that. A prime motive for making public sector pension schemes worse is to make the public sector organisations more attractive to private companies.
This government is hell-bent on cutting back the public sector, because of an unflexible ideology that states that private sector is always better than public sector, that the private sector generates wealth whilst the public sector consumes it, that it is right that 1% of people have 25% of the wealth, and that 10% of people have 90% of the wealth.
We can see the start of this in the NHS with the reform bill and loss-making Circle Health taking over the running of a hospital.
We can see this in the Higher Education White Paper, which will open Universities up to for-profit companies.
We can see this in Free Schools and Academies- Free Schools are already private organisations, funded publicly. Academies break up the collective system of education, making individual schools an easier prospect for profit seeking companies, as they can cherry pick the most financially viable schools, whilst others (no doubt those in more deprived areas) are left to rot through underfunding.
Outsourcing has been a way of life for much of the rest of the public sector for many years, but this government would happily outsource everything, except perhaps the police and army (although I’m not even sure about that).
That’s why this Wednesday’s strike action is about so much more than pensions. It is about the idea that the public sector, through collective purchasing, nationwide delivery and the lack of a profit motive, can provide some things in a better way, with better outcomes, than the private, profit-seeking sector ever could.
So everyone should be out on Wednesday, public sector, private sector, retired and out of work, to defend the idea of a society which provides services on the basis of need not wealth, through organisations that are for people, not profit.
Around 50 people gathered outside Birmingham’s ICC today as the civil service held a conference, attended by Francis Maude, the Conservative minister for the civil service.
PCS – the civil service union – called this demonstration because of redundancies in the West Midlands and planned changes to pensions following the Hutton report. PCS were joined by Birmingham Against the Cuts, the Socialist Worker Party and other local activists campaigning against cuts in the region.
Andrew Lloyd from PCS said that “since the cuts have been announced, we’ve lost 600 civil service jobs in Birmingham. As well as the lost services, we estimate the impact to the Birmingham economy is around £20 million, which is why we’re lobbying people today to give ministers a hard time, and to encourage one and all to join the campaign and vote Yes for PCS industrial action in June”
We did not get to welcome Francis Maude to the conference, and it is possible that he cancelled his visit entirely, as PCS got a phone call yesterday informing them that both Francis Maude nor Sir Gus O’Donell (head of the civil service) had decided not to attend, and asking for the demonstration to be called off.
PCS decided to go ahead with the demonstration, as it allows them to lobby delegates to the meeting to pressure the civil service on the issues of jobs and pensions.
It is not known whether Francis Maude or Sir Gus O’Donell did attend, but if they did then they, like Vince Cable did late last year, entered the ICC through a back door because of the demonstration.
Birmingham Against the Cuts fully supports PCS in it’s struggle to maintain both jobs and pensions, and would call for all members to vote for industrial action, and to attend the Save our Services Mayday demonstration on April 30th along with thousands of other people from around the region, as we join to demonstrate against cuts to jobs, pensions and services on the weekend of the traditional workers bank holiday.
More photos from the event can be seen on Geoff Dexter Sherborne’s Flickr page