Today's public sector strikes

May 10, 2012 2:10 PM

Public sector workers are out on strike again today but in much smaller numbers. The unions taking part today are the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the largest civil service trade union; Unite, representing NHS workers, Ministry of Defence firefighters and others; the University and College Union; the Immigration Services Union; Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and the Northern Ireland Public Services Alliance.

While the unions portray the changes to their generous retirement packages as "attacks" on their pay and pensions, the reforms they oppose are both moderate and necessary. Despite a £4.5 billion black hole in public sector pensions, firebrands like Len McCluskey and Mark Serwortka appear more interested in confrontation than negotiation.

They have wilfully misled their members by pretending that reform is not overwhelmingly necessary and will yet again repeat a number of pension myths in a vain attempt to justify strike action that is out of touch with both the realities of generous public sector pay deals and the pressures faced by ordinary taxpayers. When we last saw strike action in November 2011, our Research Director John O'Connell dissected the pension myths here.

The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that the difference in average hourly earnings between employees in the public and private sectors rose to 8.2 per cent in 2011. Despite the union spin to the contrary this INCLUDES accounting for gender; age; occupation; the region that the job is located in; and factoring in qualifications.

What that 8.2 per cent doesn’t include are the generous pension deals that the unions are doing their utmost to ensure remain untouched. Our online pension slider makes clear just how much those pension deals are worth:



Taxpayers are being asked to tighten their own belts, so it is only fair that those who will enjoy these generous retirement packages are asked make a contribution more reflective of the benefits they will enjoy in later years. In their current form public sector pensions are neither fair to taxpayers nor sustainable in the long run.

And don’t forget, while ordinary taxpayers struggle with the fallout from these disruptive strikes those same taxpayers are funding the unions to the tune of well over £113 million.

Public sector workers need to stop the union militants and accept moderate and necessary reforms. Otherwise all taxpayers, including them, will be left paying for it for generations to come.Public sector workers are out on strike again today but in much smaller numbers. The unions taking part today are the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the largest civil service trade union; Unite, representing NHS workers, Ministry of Defence firefighters and others; the University and College Union; the Immigration Services Union; Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and the Northern Ireland Public Services Alliance.

While the unions portray the changes to their generous retirement packages as "attacks" on their pay and pensions, the reforms they oppose are both moderate and necessary. Despite a £4.5 billion black hole in public sector pensions, firebrands like Len McCluskey and Mark Serwortka appear more interested in confrontation than negotiation.

They have wilfully misled their members by pretending that reform is not overwhelmingly necessary and will yet again repeat a number of pension myths in a vain attempt to justify strike action that is out of touch with both the realities of generous public sector pay deals and the pressures faced by ordinary taxpayers. When we last saw strike action in November 2011, our Research Director John O'Connell dissected the pension myths here.

The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that the difference in average hourly earnings between employees in the public and private sectors rose to 8.2 per cent in 2011. Despite the union spin to the contrary this INCLUDES accounting for gender; age; occupation; the region that the job is located in; and factoring in qualifications.

What that 8.2 per cent doesn’t include are the generous pension deals that the unions are doing their utmost to ensure remain untouched. Our online pension slider makes clear just how much those pension deals are worth:



Taxpayers are being asked to tighten their own belts, so it is only fair that those who will enjoy these generous retirement packages are asked make a contribution more reflective of the benefits they will enjoy in later years. In their current form public sector pensions are neither fair to taxpayers nor sustainable in the long run.

And don’t forget, while ordinary taxpayers struggle with the fallout from these disruptive strikes those same taxpayers are funding the unions to the tune of well over £113 million.

Public sector workers need to stop the union militants and accept moderate and necessary reforms. Otherwise all taxpayers, including them, will be left paying for it for generations to come.

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