Sunday, 19 June 2011

Pensions: We need to be ready to fight says Stephanie Herd

As even Michael Portillo was saying that Danny Alexander’s pensions comments were ‘provocative’ while talks were still going on, UNISON Local Government delegates backed a 13 point campaign to defend our pension scheme.

General Secretary Dave Prentis a few minutes later on BBC warned that unless the government was prepared to negotiate in good faith, it faced major industrial action. “Our members care for people... they don’t take industrial action lightly but they are being backed into a corner by this government”, he said.

Workers were being asked to pay double for less while the money was going to the Treasury, not the pension fund.

A theme taken up earlier by Scotland’s Stephanie Herd as she asked the Conference, “Is it fair that we should have to pay more, worker longer and get less?”

“It is a cash grab from our members’ wages at a time when most of us have not had a pay increase”, she said.

“Is it fair that our retired members who have paid contributions all their working lives now face a 15% cut in pension due to the change from RPI to CPI?”

Ridiculing and wishing “eternal quarantine for the thieving ginger tom cat” that is Danny Alexander, Head of Local Government Heather Wakefield made it clear that we not only intend, but “will defend our pensions”.

Condemning the “virus of lies” spread in the media about the LGPS Jonathon Sedgebeer on (SGE) called for the same spirit as shown on March 26th across the country in defence of our deferred wages and the future of the schemes.

One after another, delegates urged activists to ensure that when we have to go on strike we are well prepared and “bring the country to a standstill and the government to its senses”.

Stephanie also slammed plans which would see people lose pension protection if they are privatised.

“In Scotland we are waiting to see what the Scottish Government intends to do”, explained Stephanie. UNISON will argue that the Scottish Government does not have to implement all of the UK plans.

“Scottish schemes already have a progressive contribution scheme. Our funds are financially stable”, she said.

“We should be ready to build resistance against attacks that will only benefit the Tory toffs, not working people and our members young and old.

“We need to be ready to fight. We will fight!”.

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