Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our pensions should be Standard!

I don’t often buy the Evening Standard as I find that most commercially available toilet paper is both softer and more absorbent.

Today however, the Standard is presenting press releases from the Taxpayers Alliance (a.k.a. the Tory candidates’ training ground) as an “exclusive” report on deficits in local authority pension funds.

The range of inaccuracies in the “reporting” from this “newspaper” will no doubt be exposed better by those with more expertise in this area. (I don’t think my GMB comrades will mind my pointing out that the Standard is wrong to describe their union as the “main local government union” for example!)


It is certainly astonishing that (presumably) well paid columnists think that police officers or teachers are paid out of the local government pension scheme (if public sector workers did as bad a job as Professor Philip Booth did in writing that article we would be dealt with under a capability procedure!)

The point I want to make here is that this report is an indication of the attacks which we can now expect upon all public sector pension schemes. The pensions of the highest paid are an easy target (and we might not worry to much if these were limited) but the reality of this is that the real attack is upon the pensions of the hundreds of thousands of local government workers who will get a small pension - not the small number who may get a hundred thousand.

We need now to prepare for the political and industrial action which will be required to protect our public service pensions, which should be a benchmark for workers in the rest of the economy and not an exception to be pilloried by Tory journalists.

If capitalism cannot afford decent pensions then the answer is not to get rid of decent pensions but to get rid of capitalism (sorry if that sounds a bit Dave Spart but it also sounds right).

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon
I agree with most of your comments on the pensions issue. If and when I fear the tories get in our pensions will be under attack within two years of a tory administration. Eric Picklehead I mean Pickles who was the former tory Local Government shadow minister and hatchet merchant had an ideological hatred of Local Government pension schemes and public sector pension schemes in general.He vowed to scrap them when the tories got in.Indeed the tory party, the tory press,the Lib-Dems,and most political parties seem to want to stick the boot in our pension scheme.In times of economic woe we are always easy targets for the right wing they can divert their greed of failed policies of the past into blameing Public Sector workers, usually pensions, wages,our work record and alledged wasteful ways.We have a tough time ahead fighting such attacks, we dont want the days of pensioners living in poverty and living without dignity in old age to become the norm.Our enemies dont usually have to suffer such a fate, they have already moved abroad and took their ill gotten gains with them to sunny climes!

niceonecyril said...

The majority of people in this country outside the public sector are paying more into public sector pensions than their own.This is simply unfair and unsustainable,salaries in the public sector now outstrip those in the private sector,so you should be able to fund your own fucking pensions!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Jon!

It looks like you've been described by a dinosaur by the far-right Thatcherite Oxbridge moonbats of the TPA.

Must be worth a feather in any decent citizen's cap.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon

I think your views are quite out dated. Whatever you say, the fact is that the pensions of the public sector are not sustainable and as each year goes by they will be more grabs from the government (who is ever in at the time) to maintain them. My council bill has just arrived and there is an extra 0.8% of pay costs that now has to go in to the PS pension scheme. So you are either taking it off the taxes payers or you are taking it from front line services, I will let you make this call. You can't keep spending and I would have thought that the current envirioment would make you reaslise this. My own view is that the public sector should pay more towards their pension schemes than they currently do. I pay 22.5% in to mine what do you or you memebers pay in to yours.
I've heard you or your union say that members contributions should go up.

Anonymous said...

"Private employers who cannot make a profit and pay decent pensions should be brought into public ownership and democratic control."

Interesting comment by you Jon, my local council could not make a profit on the pension contributions they have had already so they are going to contribute more, not the employees (your memebers) but the employer i.e the tax payer. You just don't get do you?

Look forward to seeing you on the streets when the tories get in.

SirJasper said...

Hi Jon,

I was interested in your comment on what should happen to companies that are unable to make a profit and support decent pensions.

I can see arguments for requiring companies to contribute to pensions
but what I don't understand is how bringing them into public ownership and under democratic control will help them to be profitable and make the money required to support the decent pensions, or are these pension contributions to come from state funds?

SirJasper said...

Thanks for that Jon,

What I still fail to grasp in that scenario, is where the money comes from, where does it get generated so that this 'failing' but useful business can be kept going with its salaries and pension contributions.

I'm also a bit unsure of what 'socially useful' means and who would get to decide it, or, what would happen to firms that were 'failing' but not socially useful. Would they be allowed to go to the wall and their employees onto benefit?

Very interested in your thoughts.

P

Anonymous said...

What planets are some of you on - if people don't have a decent pension now (may change if the Tories get back in) the TAX PAYER funds the payments of minimum income guarantee, in order to secure a minimum income for pensioners. So the public purse pays it one way or another. Far better to take a percentage of our pay now to fund us in old age, than for us to blow the lot and let the State make up the lot in the end anyway.
This is how a civilisation works - you protect those in need (in this case, pensioners).

Jay

SirJasper said...

Thanks for getting back to me, for me it's a very interesting discussion, but I'm still not I'm clear on where, in your view, the money comes from.

I can see that there might be lots of ways of allocating it once you've got it, but somebody somewhere in the economy has got to generate the value that the cash is based on (just printing it doesn't work that's for sure). If they don't there's nothing to allocat. How should this best be done in your view?


Paul

SirJasper said...

Hi Jon,

Interesting.

Maybe I am missing the point.
My question is about where the value/utility comes from. Who generates it and why? If we decide to produce a socially useful hospital who does the building and what is their motivation to do it?

The money measure is just a useful if-flawed proxy for value but if one can't point to where it gets created in any economic system then it, at some point it will collapse. Ask the investors in Madof's funds.

Where in the socialist world does the value get created by whom and with what motivation?

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon

So what value do you add to society?