Unions angry at plans to raise workers’ contributions by 3.2%

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Unions have vowed to fight the government’s public sector pensions bill after Danny Alexander yesterday published legislation to bring in controversial plans to raise workers’ contributions by 3.2%.

Calling for co-ordinated industrial action over the issue, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We intend to fight this bill politically, but we also believe that co-ordinated industrial action is still necessary on pensions as well as pay, and this should be held as soon as possible after the TUC demonstrations on 20 October.

“From the very beginning of this the government has refused to negotiate with us around the key issues of public servants being forced to pay more, simply to pay off the deficit, work up to eight years longer and get tens of thousands of pounds less in retirement.

“This is a naked attempt to impose unfair and unnecessary cuts to pension schemes that the government’s own adviser has said are affordable now and in the future, and we will continue to oppose it.”

Prospect deputy general secretary Dai Hudd said: “Although the final package of reforms was accepted by members we made it abundantly clear to ministers at the time that the contributions increases being imposed between now and 2015 had nothing to do with pensions reform.

“The 3.2% increase in pensions payments represents a crude tax on our members on top of the wage freeze and the 1% pay cap. We wrote to the minister in March setting out our position and Prospect remains in dispute until this issue is settled.

“The union will consider its position on the pensions bill, and the dispute over pay exacerbated by the extra contributions over the next two years, at the next meeting of the Civil Service Sector Executive on 27 September.”

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “This Bill is being steamrollered through by the coalition, eager to make teachers and nurses pay for the financial chaos caused by the City elite. Ministers have turned unfairness and not listening to the reasoned arguments of the public sector unions into an art form.

“We will be urging the Labour Party and those Liberal Democrats unhappy with the coalition’s direction of travel to put up a strong fight as the bill goes through its parliamentary stages.

“Ministers have dressed up their statements to give the impression that their plans for public sector pensions have been universally agreed by the respective workforces. This is simply not true. Unite will continue to campaign against this legislation, as it will mean public sector workers paying more, working longer up to the age of 68, and receiving less when they eventually retire.”

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “The government is pressing ahead with its attacks on public sector pensions.  The overwhelming majority of teachers reject the government’s plans to make teachers work until 68 or even later for much lower pensions than now.  The NUT, alongside other unions, will continue to campaign against those proposals.

“The Bill also shows that the government has no intention of honouring its commitment that the new pension schemes would last for at least 25 years.  All the Bill requires is that the government consults before imposing further changes.  This is totally inadequate and a further breach of promise.”

 


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