By Ben Simmons
Pension reform proposals reached today between public sector workers and the government, which were described by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander as ‘fair deal for public service workers and an affordable deal for the taxpayer’, have been rejected by the UK’s biggest union who dubbed it ‘a national disgrace’.
“The coalition’s mask has finally dropped — it is pushing through a pensions’ package without having held real and genuine negotiations over the last year.
“Ministers are using these hefty increases in pension contributions as an additional unfair tax on NHS workers to pay for the deficit caused by reckless bankers who have played havoc with the British economy and caused misery to millions of working people and their families.
“Now many public sector workers — the bedrock of local communities, such as nurses and teachers — face working longer before they retire. The prospect of a 68-year-old paramedic lifting patients will become a reality with the increased risk to patients. Do the public really want to see this?
“From next month, public sector staff will be paying more in contributions, yet facing a further 12 months pay freeze. But at the same time chancellor, George Osborne is seriously considering abolishing the 50p rate of tax for the wealthy earning more than £150,000-a-year.
“Public sector pensions were put on a realistic basis by the last government, but this government of the rich for the rich is targeting the modest retirement incomes of nurses and teachers.
“These severe changes are being driven by the treasury, despite cabinet ministers Andrew Lansley and Michael Gove having expressed strong reservations about the long-term impact on the validity of the individual schemes, if these changes were steamrollered through.
“It is national disgrace and Unite will continue to campaign against this putrid agenda of unfairness.”