There have been lots of articles written and hours of news broadcasts devoted to discussing the public sector workers pension rights and whether they should accept the reduced offer or hold out for no change.
On the one hand we can all understand the frustration of being promised something rather wonderful (an index-linked pension at 60 not affected by the fluctuations of how your fund invested in the stock market has performed) for many years only to see the offer downgraded. Many public sector workers are low paid. Most are hard working. And it was a promise, wasn’t it?
On the other hand:
1. Everyone with a state pension has already had to accept a similar reduction, women in particular. My state pension has slipped from 60 to 66 – at £5500 a year that is 33,000 stolen from my retirement planning. And it was a promise when I started working and paying NI, wasn’t it?
2. According to the BBC there are 29 million workers currently in the UK. Only 30% of them have employers who contribute to their pension. And those contributions have slumped in the last 20 years. Many are low paid. Most are hard working. The taxes of these 70% who have no pensions will be used to pay for the public sector pensions. Is that fair?
3. Are private sector employers feckless not to provide for their workers’ retirement? Possibly, but when you realise that 90% of UK employers employ less than 10 people you realise that for most tiny businesses there is no piggybank in the sky to offer any pensions let alone generous ones. If the business owners are facing tough times it better to cut costs to the bone and keep the business afloat than go bust paying good pensions.
4. If that happens in the private sector why can’t it happen in the public sector. The UK is borrowing on the never never and spending money it doesn’t have. Am I the only one to feel that the main union argument of how hard working and deserving nurses and teachers are is a red herring. It implies a special case. But there are countless hard working and equally deserving workers in the private sector. And, I guess, a fair few work-shy and undeserving in both camps if we are honest.
So the only question is: Who is going to explain that to the public sector workers?
What do you think?