Today is the anniversary of lots of things including St Andrew's Day [Patron Saint of Scotland]; the author Mark Twain was born in 1835; Winston Churchill, war time British Prime Minister, was born in 1874.
But this year there is a different meaning to the day. Many public sector workers are holding a day of action today and are on strike because of what they see as an attack on their pensions by this government.
The government claim that the taxpayer cannot afford to pay the promised public sector pensions. Why don't the government admit that these pensions are not 'privileges' but deferred wages that have been negotiated in wage deals over the years? Surely the government wouldn't dare ask for a cut in wages [yet] but in effect that is what they are doing with this pensions 'scam'.
David Cameron claims [in his usual bullying tone] that these individuals have played into his hands. One of my friends who is on strike today has written this. And a big thank you to him for letting me publish it here. Please read it and decide who is right. I know who I am behind and it is not Mr Cameron.
I am on strike today. I do not want to be on strike. I have not been told to go on strike by my trade union. I have made an intelligent decision based on the information available. I purchased a product when I joined the local government pension scheme, which at that time was sold to me as 'it cannot change & is enshrined in law'. I am now being told that due to changing circumstances, the terms of my pension are to be torn up before my eyes, and that I will have to1: Pay more in contributions, as much as £50/60 per month, when in the last 12 months my post at work has seen salary reduced by £5000 & I have not received a cost of living pay rise for 3 years.
2: Receive a large amount less than the frankly modest pension I am currently due.
3: Have the possibility of any early retirement removed
4: If I don't like the changes being made to my pension, sold as 'enshrined in law', then I cannot have my own contributions back, they are keeping them!!!One word - NO!!!
Please do not cross picket lines. Solidarity to all those on strike and thank you for all the work you do every day for poor pay and conditions. You deserve to have the promises made to you in the past fulfilled.
Photograph courtesy of the http://www.unison.org.uk/n30/