Dave Prentis is spot on in criticising this attack upon the retirement income of public servants whilst bankers enjoy their bonuses. I for one wouldn't worry so much about my defined benefit pension if I had an annual bonus of several million pounds!
This is the issue on which we must now prepare to fight. As Dave said to the last NEC, this may well require a sustained battle (with sustainable tactics). One day won't necessarily bring the Government round (let alone down!)
In this battle we will come face to face with our real enemies - not just Cameron and Osborne (and their little Liberal helpers) but the class they serve. John Cridland of the CBI let's several cats out of bags in today's Grauniad (http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/09/public-sector-pensions-pensions?cat=commentisfree&type=article) when he says;
"Pension reforms will also help the prime minister's "big society" programme to really get off the ground. Public sector pensions remain the biggest barrier to the private and third sectors providing public services. Pension costs and liabilities are far higher for providers outside the public sector. When third sector and private sector organisations currently bid for work they have to be able to cover the full cost of public sector pension liabilities, and many simply do not have the money to do so. Conversely, public sector employers make an artificially low contribution to pensions, which are subsidised by the taxpayer. This puts a brake on competition and makes it harder for those in the private sector to bid for public service contracts."
Our pensions - the promise we were made when we chose public service - are an obstacle to Mr Cridland and his members taking over our jobs so they can reap "shareholder value" from public funds.
The attack upon public service pensions is part and parcel of the Tory offensive against the Welfare State. It is driven by the desire of big business to make profits out of the delivery of public services - profits which will be made at the expense of our pay and conditions and to the detriment of the services we work to provide.
We face attacks across a wide front - benefits, the NHS, spending cuts, the pay freeze. It is in relation to pensions that we can mount a counter offensive to defeat the likes of Cridland and the politicians who carry out the will of his members in the CBI.
The leaders of our unions now face the challenge of their lifetimes - to coordinate widespread industrial action to defeat a determined Government.
Union activists need to make sure our members appreciate what the Government is doing to our pensions, why we will be right to fight them and how we can win.
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