Strike!

Now most of the stuff I have a rant about is fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things but sometimes the big things are just too close to my heart to let go, especially when I feel people are being given a rough deal.

So today millions of public sector workers are on strike and on the Jeremy Vine show today a Tory minister said words to the effect that this strike must be quashed and these people are just being greedy. Ummmm really lets looks at the facts shall we………..

Public sector workers have been experiencing a pay freeze for the last two years and when this is finally lifted this had now been capped at 1%, mean while executives in the private sector have been enjoyed exorbitant rises of an average 49% (source)

Public sector workers will now have to pay in more for their pensions, get less out and work for longer. You may say well having a pension is a luxury and why should us tax payers be subsidising public sector workers? Well for starters people who work in the public sector pay tax too (shocking!) while those top earners do everything they can to avoid paying. It was recently reported that in the most expensive apartment block in the country only 9 out of 63 apartments pay council tax and most avoided paying stamp duty. I mean what the fuck!!!! But we don’t hear the tory boys talking about this do we? Many private companies don’t contribute to pension funds and people say they can’t afford to pay into one, so either these people are going to work ’til they die or are going to be reliant on means tested state benefits when age forces them to retire (yep those same tax monies that those greedy public sector workers are getting).

Also you’ll be interested to know that there is more money going into pension funds from staff contributions than is going out in pension payments (the average pension in local government is £3,800 a year, but for women, it’s less than £2,800 – just £56 a week) and most of these higher contributions will go to the Treasury. Yes people this is all about plugging that gap that was caused by the fucking wankers, sorry bankers. And where are they in all this? Where the fuck is our money? Oh yes I forgot Mr Osborne is selling them off at bargain basement prices, thanks for that, tosser.

And do you think Davey baby doesn’t have a pension? Like heck as like.

History does not remember those people who stand idly by and just take the crap that’s being doled out at them. History remembers Emmeline Pankhurst, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, people who stood up and said NO, THIS WILL NOT DO. And Mr Cameron this will NOT do.

So yes it’s an inconvenience for that the schools are closed or you can’t get hold of the council or your plane is delayed, but maybe you’ll think about how valuable these people are? Should they be paying the price for the mistake and greed of others? No. Should they have the right to stand up and say ‘this is not fair and it’s not right’. Abso-bloody-lutely.

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15 thoughts on “Strike!

  1. Yes, you’re right ranty girl, when you say the ‘executives’ are getting on average 49% pay rises and avoid paying tax. But the rest of us who aren’t in that group who are working in the private sector have endured pay cuts and freezes for the past 4 years and its not looking like its going to get better in the near future.

    I can’t pay into my private pension right now as I really can’t afford it since I’m on minimum wage working 6 days a week at stupid o’clock trying to earn enough to live. I have to put feeding my children on top priority over paying into my pension for the future. So looks like I’ll be working til I drop then, won’t I?
    (I know where you got the ‘luxury quote from and thanks’)

    • Thank you for you’re comment Rachel and I understand that it is hard for most people at the moment.

      I think the public sector workers have been demonised over this strike action and I felt that I had to give the other side of the argument.

      I hope I haven’t upset you by including your quote but I wanted to put in some of the commentary that I have heard that had not come from the press or politicians.

  2. It seems like you’re rant is aimed at the top earners in the private sector and not those on minimum/low wages who don’t earn enough to pay tax. I agree with you there, there shouldn’t be the loopholes so fat cats can get out of paying tax. And bankers shouldn’t get their bonus’s until the banks have paid back what’s owed to the taxpayers.

    So, strike if you must, but spare a thought for us regular low income workers, who f we took strike action would be sacked, who have no choice but to carry on and hope for the best for our futures.

    I’m expressing my opinion as you’ve expressed yours. Thanks for starting a topical debate. I hope that the strike action brings you what you want as a public sector worker, and I’ll have to work from my side to get out of life what I want for my future.

  3. I don’t actually work in the public sector and I won’t be striking today. But what I hope is that the government will realise that we won’t all lie down and take it. Maybe then things will get better for all of us?

  4. I’m not going to argue with you on this rant (for once, haha!) And actually, I think you’ve made a lot of sense and you’ve kind of put it into context for me.

    I am a public sector worker (I think!) I work at a University in ‘London’ (they say London as they think it makes them look better!) I’m not going out on strike, mainly because I have too much work to do for the project I’m working on and I’m not part of the Union here.

    I do pay into the LGPS (Local Government Pension Scheme) so I guess I should give a shit, but I really just don’t. I don’t envisage myself working here much beyond next summer and to be honest with you, I just want to be a housewife. So whilst I ‘don’t care’, I do support those striking, especially those ‘real’ public sector workers (nurses, paramedics, teachers etc. I’m sorry, but I don’t count the University as ‘real’ public sector!) We rely on those people, to do a multitude of things for us and I do think they should be rewarded.

    Generally the pay is crap in Public Sector, (Generally), and I think paying into a public sector pension is only the same as private sector workers paying into a private pension. If private sector people don’t pay into a private pension, well, I mean, that’s kinda like bad planning right? No offence, I don’t want to cause offence but yknow. And I get where people are coming from. I can’t really afford to be paying into the LGPS and will probably withdraw in the New Year. But I do think that paying into a pension fund or even a savings account is a good idea. No?

    I do see where Rachel is coming from and can appreciate the frustration of private sector workers. Shop workers for example get paid naff all (I know, I’ve done that a few times), work long hours, and don’t get many benefits. And I do think that the big companies they work for should offer them more benefits, such as pension schemes, healthcare etc.

    As for the bankers and execs, don’t get me started. No bonuses, a cap on pay and a crackdown on tax loopholes and offshore accounts. It’s not rocket science!!

    Anyway, sorry for rambling, but really I wanted to say thanks for putting it in context for the dumbass here who hasn’t got a clue. If only I weren’t so busy, I would be out there to show support for my fellow workers.

  5. Spare a little thought for those of us in the private sector who own businesses and only just make enough money to pay our current bills.

    We can’t afford to pay into a pension plan and if our business starts going under, we take out loans and pay into the business from our own pockets to try and get it going again. I haven’t had a pay rise since our restaurant opened four years ago and things are only getting worse in this current economic climate. We don’t get holiday pay if we go away – we lose money. If we have to close the restaurant for good because people stop coming, I won’t get redundancy pay either. Think of some of the benefits and job security that you do have. I would love to be able to be putting a little bit aside for my elderly years, but just can’t. I appreciate that the propsed figure for paying into your pension is too high but at least when you’re old you’ll be feeding yourself and having the heating on!
    It seems there are 3 sides to this arguement – public sector, private sector low earners and private sector high earners. The real issue is the high earners who avoid tax and other payments that the rest of us make (almost) without complaining. It’s time to ensure that they pay their way like the rest of us.

  6. I whole heartedly agree with your rant today! I also agree with the majority of the comments that the low earners aren’t exactly in a great position either but the strike isn’t about that. It is the only way the government seem to take notice of the fact that the public won’t just say “Oh ok then, take an extra £xxx (notice 3 figures) a month, give me less back at the end (a lot less) and make me work longer – yeah that’s absolutely fine, no problem”. I understand we are in a economic crisis, and yes, something has to be done about it but this isn’t the way forward.
    The last pension review 3 years ago, showed that the current pension scheme was completely workable, was reasonable on both sides AND WAS PAYING FOR ITSELF. Basically there was more paid in than was paid out. So, it was agreed with the unions and the government, who then said they wouldn’t change it again without another review. Fine, great. Until the new government comes along and decides they need some extra money from somewhere – I know, let’s just tax the public sector again, call it a pension increase and we’re laughing (oh and we’ll screw them over a few other ways too just for good measure) and do they do another review? No, they refuse, because it will show the same, the current pension scheme pays for itself and it will be clear that the public sector money is being used to solve a problem that wasn’t the public sector in the first place.
    Rah, rant over (well not really but I have stuff to do!). Thanks for letting me vent! Great blog!! xxx

    • I’m so glad someone mentioned the earlier pension review. I was going to mention it in the post but I felt like it would have just been too much.

      But it is just screwing over a bunch of people who have made a career decision to work for the benefit of others.

  7. Thank you for writing this rant. I’ve seen so many comments today that public sector employees should just be happy to have a job. I appreciate every day that I have a job, but there also isn’t a day go by where I don’t worry that my place of work will be closed and I will be out of work.
    I support anyone that strikes because unless you are in their shoes you can’t judge.

  8. Thanks for such a brilliant post!

    I find one of the things which is totally glossed over by the media is that the very nature of the jobs held by those striking today is that they’re so integral to the proper functioning of our society that they’re labelled “public services”. Without them, those on lower (or even middle) incomes, public or private, would find day-to-day life very very difficult. It therefore the government’s responsibility to provide a future for these people. This becomes more pertinent when you remember that many public sector workers have taken an effective pay-cut to work there: teachers for example would earn far more in private schools, nurses in private hospitals etc. And therefore by reducing the incentives (or basic living requirements! such as a pension, the government is not only shafting those who work in the public sector, but also anyone who uses public services, as it leads to a ‘brain drain’ as great teachers and health professionals etc stop choosing to work for the public sector, but rather move private. Anyone who uses public transport, hospitals, schools etc, has a vested interest in the outcome of these strikes and the pension negotiations, or we’ll see a continual decrease in the quality of state education and healthcare (although… lefty speaking here… that might be precisely what David Cameron’s after!). It’s essential that recessions don’ lead to decision-making that continues to drag the country down for generations… but unfortunately that doesn’t win you votes right now.

    Rant over. Phew.

    Oh, and I’m a private sector worker.

  9. It’s refreshing not to be attacked for a change! So thank you for that! As a teacher on a relatively good salary with a job, secure atm but the government don’t rate my subject as a subject and are trying to make it non-compulsary… now where will that leave me?… Sorry I am becoming sidetracked. But one of the reasons I worked so hard to become a teacher, stacked with debt to do so also, was because of the ‘perks’ one of which was earlier retirement and a pension.

    I work damn hard, and deemed ‘outstanding’, but am starting to regret my decision to become a teacher, my boyfriend gets a non-contributory pension and earns twice my wage (he’s a hard worker, very few qualifications) and the same goes for my brother, who is just very smart and his company want his brain power, they are lucky.

    I still pay into my pension and will have to drop out to pay the mortgage for the house I bought in the recession (I felt quite smug, as thought I was helping the recession) once I do this I can’t re-enter the scheme, so in effect will lose my pension (unless my other half can step up to the plate but it’s not his fault.

    Friends of mine who are both public sector workers are in the same boat they face a loss of an extra £400 each month towards pensions, how can they afford this? I know we are all in a horrible mess, but reports show the pension scheme is self sufficient until 2060, the gvmnt want the money for other things, why not change the scheme for all new members, then at least they know what they are signing up for and not expect a change to the agreement years down the line?

    I sympathise with all parties, but why aren’t we allowed to fight for what we thought was supposed to be ours?

    Also, who want’s a 68 year old teacher? I mean really…..

  10. I don’t know where I stand on the strike if I am honest although I do know that I’m not against it but I think part of the Ill feeling is that most of us are going through similar things too but dont have a union to go to for support and are too scared about the security of our jobs in the current climate to kick up too much of a fuss. I work in the charity sector & chose to do so to make a difference-I still have a stressful job and I probably have a salary not too different from public sector. I know I could go into the private sector & triple my salary but I don’t want to and that’s my choice. However I stopped paying into my pension over a year ago as I cant afford it and my salary has barely moved in last 4 years (it only did recently after I moved jobs-just escaping being made redundant)…so I guess (after that ramble) I feel supportive for those on strike but I wish there was something bigger that we could all get behind that recognises its not just about public/private…but because we’ve made choices in how we live our lives and how we contribute to society but we’re all not happy because these choices seem to be being snatched away. Like some sort of anti government big society movement! Or maybe we set it up here and now-the BRS…Big Ranty Society!

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