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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 June 2012

No to local government pensions deal

Not a penny more off our pensions and not a day longer at work!

By a local government worker in Unison
Unite members at St Thomas' Hospital on strike 10 May 2012 as part of the nationwide strike of workers in the public sector against attacks on pensions , photo Paul Mattsson

Unite members at St Thomas' Hospital on strike 10 May 2012 as part of the nationwide strike of workers in the public sector against attacks on pensions , photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

It's been seven months since the magnificent strike on 30 November in defence of public sector pensions. Seven months with members being kept in the dark. On 31 May the deal that has been stuck at the top of the unions was announced. It is now to be subject to ballots in the different local government unions.

The proposal will affect 4.6 million working and retired workers. So we must be sure that we are not being robbed again, like we were in 2006, when 1 billion was taken off our pensions.

The long and short of this deal is "work longer, get less, pay more". The local government scheme is not in financial difficulty. This is just another attempt by the government to steal money from the pockets of public sector workers.

Any concessions that have been won are because of strike action and the employers' fear of another 30 November.

If the union leaders think this is a good deal achieved through negotiation, imagine what could be won if we fight alongside all the other union members still fighting to protect their pensions?

Details of the pensions proposals unpicked...

We are told that this deal means:

In 2006 we fought to keep the final salary scheme and opposed the career average scheme, so why is it now being attacked by the union leaderships as only benefiting the higher paid?

The union officials are now claiming that the career average scheme is better, because it has a better accrual rate of 1/49th and will be uprated by the CPI inflation rate.

Most workers end up earning far more in their last years of working than when they first started. They will be rightly suspicious that taking their average salary over their whole career can be better than using their final salary.

Some of the examples the unions give seem to show we would be no worse off and in some cases better off with a 1/49th and CPI uprating but are we being given the whole picture?

Some months ago the unions said that in order to be better off or no worse off than under the final salary scheme we would need to get an uprating level of not just the inflation rate but inflation plus 2.5%. The reason for this is that history has shown over the long run pay rises are generally 2.5% higher than the inflation rate.

Despite this we are now being sold an uprating level of just the CPI inflation rate, 3% at the moment.

If we were given examples of CPI plus 2.5% it would expose the career average scheme as leaving many more workers worse off.

Our union leaders clearly don't believe that we will be able to secure anything other than pay rises at or below inflation rate for the next 20 years.

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In The Socialist 13 June 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

No to austerity! - Turn anger into action

NSSN conference agrees call for one-day general strike against austerity

Leveson: contradictions and a crisis of credibility

No to local government pensions deal

The class divide in elderly care

Fast news

Them & Us

Socialist Party youth and students

Youth Fight for Jobs national meeting

My workfare nightmare

From pillar to post: reassessment for ESA

Super-rich Beecroft targets workers' rights

International socialist news and analysis

Spain: bank bailout can't stop Euro death-spiral

Wisconsin Recall: Democrats paved the way for Walker's victory

Kazakhstan: Oil workers jailed by rotten regime

International day of support for political prisoners in Iran

Threat from far-right in Greece: Time to build defence committees

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Tamil protest scores victory as Rajapaksa cancels speaking engagement

Bolton Uni: Reinstate Shana Begum!

Greece comes to Southampton

Olympic's sponsor exploits workers

West Lancs Against Cuts

Socialist Party workplace news

Sheffield recycling centre strikers supported by 90% of public

Council admin workers in Kirklees strike against cuts

Olympics - a fair deal for transport workers

Coryton refinery closure protests

Striking against academies

Workplace news in brief


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