PCS member travels from Aberdeen to Westminster to witness debate he started with internet petition


A PCS member from Aberdeen is travelling 500 miles to Westminster to watch MPs debate pensions because of a petition he started on the internet.

Jim Singer wants ministers to reverse a damaging switch in the way public and private pensions are recalculated.

His petition – currently the fifth most popular on the government’s e-petition website with just fewer than 110,000 signatories – says the imposed switch from using the retail price index to the traditionally lower consumer price index to determine annual pensions increases is unfair and should be reversed.

It states the change will “mean a steady reduction in spending power for pensioners as they progress into their retirement”.

The move was introduced by chancellor George Osborne in his June 2010 budget without any prior consultation or negotiation and ministers have since refused any talks on the issue that is one of three main reasons why two million public sector workers were on strike on 30 November last year.

It is also the subject of a judicial review appeal by PCS and six other unions heard in the High Court in February.

It is estimated the change will cost public sector workers about £15,000 over an average retirement, and it has also been applied to many private sector pensions, wiping an estimated £75 billion off their value.

If Jim and his wife Sheena, who was in the pension scheme at British Telecom, live for 20 years after retirement they stand to lose £31,000 between them because of the switch from RPI to CPI.

The debate, to be held in the House of Commons tomorrow afternoon was secured by John McDonnell MP, the chair of PCS’s parliamentary group and a staunch supporter of unions and the public sector.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Jim did a magnificent job to launch this petition and send out hundreds of personal emails to urge people to sign it.

“Minsters need to get back round the table to talk about reversing this switch and their other unnecessary and damaging cuts to the pensions of millions of public servants.

“This is one of the main reasons why two million public sector workers were on strike on 30 November. We are continuing to fight government plans to force public sector workers to work longer and pay more for less in retirement, including widespread co-ordinated industrial action.”

Civil servant and PCS member Jim Singer said: “I’m delighted that we’ve finally secured the debate. I was particularly annoyed by this change because I’ve worked for the government for 35 years and for all that time I was guaranteed a pension that would rise by RPI.

“This switch will make me and many workers in the private and public sectors thousands of pounds worse off.”

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