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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why private sector workers should support the strike

This piece of mine appears in The Week/The First Post.

Neil Clark: Pension cuts are all a ploy to reduce costs so that more public services can be privatised

WHOSE side are you on in Britain's biggest industrial dispute since the 1920s?

The public sector trade unions, who are leading Wednesday's national strike of up to 2.6m workers, say they are fighting to maintain the living standards of their members, who are being hit with wage freezes, cuts to their pensions and a higher cost of living.

Prime Minister David Cameron says that far from being hard done by, many public sector workers will still receive pensions "far, far better" than ones in the private sector.

You can read the whole of the article here.


Martin Meenagh said...

Absolutely. Though the state is too big, there is no reason to validate the private sector theft of pension funds and 'borrowing' from worker compensation by stirring up envy about the deal given to public servants. There are times when I wish I was in a union led by Bob Crow--he can drink and eat what he likes as far as I care, so long as he does his job by his members with a great deal more fidelity than most chief executives.

The irony is that we have a state choc-full of relatively useless people in hoc to privatised and outsourced companies ripping it off, but we're going for the teachers, legal aid, and cleaners whilst air-bombing the middle classes with benefits, negative interest rates and mad schemes (and throwing money on the european fire).

If business values freedom--abolish the department of business. And of culture, media and sport. Call export subsidies that and not overseas aid, and stop regulating education. That'd save £15 billion. Making the Railways a passenger co-op under Network Rail would save many billions more. Create a flat tax or series of flat taxes, lower than now but with no loopholes or get-outs, and watch small business flourish. We could abolish HMRC, pledge future national surpluses to the national insurance fund, and make investment bank boards' liability unlimited. We could dump stupid carbon taxes and the green delusions and reopen the mines, and give those men in those devastated cities proper work and something to be proud of. We could nationalise the worst universities and make them into a university of Britain under the Open University, on the same lines, whilst privatising the best and letting them pay us taxes.

But no--that the Conservatives won't do. So we're back to kicking the poor and those who make the country work, and huffing an puffing about pensions most of us will never see.

Paul R said...

The best, clearest, and most illuminating explanation which has appeared so far on what Wednesday's strike is really about.

Neil Clark said...

Martin, Paul R: Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at Public sector workers who seem unaware or puzzled by the anger of many private sector workers. The Public sector are asking us turkeys to vote for Christmas. If the Unions and their members have their way, people like me will be working into their seventies before retiring on little or no pension (assuming we live that long)to finance the gold plated pensions of people who will retire in their fifties.

For Union leaders and Labour MPs to proclaim that they are taking action on behalf of proper pensions and jobs for all IE: protection of pensions and jobs for both public and private sector is both disingenuous and insulting. I don't recall Mr. Balls speaking up against pension raids and job cuts in the private sector during Labour's Governance?

There also seems to be an argument along the lines of 'the private sector caused the recession so we shoudn't be punished for it'. The Private sector includes many more people besides bankers. These are cleaners, shopworkers, hairdressers, bar workers, drivers etc. Many of these are on low or minimum wage.

We all need to work longer as we will live longer. We all need to pull together to get out of the mess we are in. It is time to get real. Many people in the Private sector have been through that pain over the last four years, it is time for our Public sector workers to get real too.