28 Jun 2011

Stroud Greens support for public workers' strike

Stroud District Green Party has expressed support for this week's public-sector workers' strike. The income gap in Britain is growing - we should not be about transferring wealth from the poor to the rich. I hope the strike on the 30th will draw attention to this large scale government attack on vulnerable people.

The proposed reforms will mean workers will pay more to get less, and come at a time when millions of public sector workers are facing a two-year pay freeze and hundreds of thousands are expected to lose their jobs. Britain's independent financial watchdog the National Audit Office found that public sector pensions were affordable and that changes under the last Labour government to increase the pension age for new staff and to raise contributions also reduced the burden on the taxpayer.

John Marjoram, for Stroud District Green Party, said: "The government's attempts to demonise hard-working people in the public sector have been disgraceful. Changes to pensions should be negotiated and not imposed from above by a government unwilling to make its friends in the banks and big business pay for the mess they have made of Britain's economy. Workers in the public sector have seen their salaries drop in real terms after years of pay freezes and inflation. To tell them now that their pensions are being raided as well is a slap in the face."

The Green Party supports the rights of workers to strike if they feel that their pay and conditions are under threat. For a fairly balanced view on the pensions see here.


Philip Booth said...

Attending the picket lines of those on strike: Stroud Job Centre Plus, Union St (opposite Iceland) from 8am, Stroud College (Stratford Rd) from 8.30am, more pickets lines may be taking place at workplaces in Stroud.

Rally and picnic at Gloucester Park 10.30am music at 12 noon

Speakers: John Pemberthy (GDTC secretary), Andy Woolley (Regional Secretary, NUT), Andrew Steward (ATL Branch Officer) , David Drew (former Labour MP for Stroud), Parmjit Dhanda (former Labour MP for Gloucester), plus PCS & UCU speakers TBC

Philip Booth said...

I just got this comment re the reuters link in my last line...

At least two major misleading statements in this. Firstly, the Government (unchallenged by Reuters) continues to argue as if all public sector pension schemes are the same. They are not. The civil service scheme may be notionally contributory, but is really financed from current taxation. This has a direct effect on the Government's finances. But the others, teachers and local government, are proper contributory schemes where all the money is paid into a designated fund which is invested. Pensions are then paid from the fund, which is essentially self financing. This has no direct effect on Government finances, unless, presumably, the fund goes bust. The Government is pretending that all public sector pensions are directly financed by the Government itself. This is completely untrue.

Secondly, the increase in employee contributions the Government is demanding is being portrayed everywhere as an increase of 3%. In fact it is an increase from roughly 6% of earnings to roughly 9%. An increase of 50%. this makes it a little easier to understand why people are so annoyed.

Philip Booth said...

And here's Caroline's statement:


Commenting ahead of the public sector strikes across the country tomorrow, Brighton Pavilion MP and leader of the Green party of England and Wales, Caroline Lucas, said:

“Many teachers and other public sector workers have contacted me over the past week to express hope that striking wouldn’t be necessary – that the Prime Minister would start taking their pension concerns seriously. Sadly the Coalition Government’s relentless attack on this country’s public servants has left them with no choice.

“We know that public sector pensions are affordable – this is really about piling the UK’s debt burden onto the people who did the least to create it. I believe that fair pensions are worth fighting for, so I will be joining the picket lines in solidarity with my constituents who have been abandoned by the other main Westminster parties.

“This isn’t something I do lightly. I regret the disruption caused by industrial action and think it must only be used in special circumstances – and would urge trade unions to work hard to ensure support from the wider public.

“Yet when teachers are being expected to pay 50% more in pension contributions, work longer and get less pension when they retire – and when negotiations are failing – targeted and considered action is clearly necessary.”

Philip Booth said...

Just seen this astonishing video of Ed Milliband:

Where were his media advisors?