By Maximilian Clarke
The British Chambers of Commerce have lent their weight to the debate surrounding the contentious November 30th public sector strikes, damning the action as irresponsible and reckless given the current economic climate.
Condemnation of the industrial action is widespread, with some forecasting the cost of the nationwide disruption to run into hundreds of millions.
Adherents of the industrial action, who include members of the GMB, UNISON, Unite and Teachers’, remain determined to carry our the November 30th strike due to opposition of what the government argue are essential reforms to make the current pension system economically viable for future generations.
The current pension system was formed in the post-war period when life expectancies were considerably lower than today. Research from the BBC shows an increase of 80% in the number of pensioners since 1951, yet attempts to reform the pensions by adapting to this increased longevity have been met with fierce resistance.
“Strike action in the current economic climate is irresponsible and reckless. Trade unions are living in a bubble and ignoring the fact that Britain has to make its way in a competitive world,” says John Longwoth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce.
“It’s true that austerity measures are affecting peoples’ lives across Britain, public- and private-sector alike. But these measures are essential to maintaining our fiscal credibility and helping to stabilise the economy.
“Businesses are doing everything they can, working flat out to make sales, attract orders, retain valued staff and deliver growth. For some workers to walk out over modest changes to a generous pension scheme while others are busting a gut to get the economy moving is a big mistake.
“Some commentators see strike action as a victimless crime. Tell that to the major companies forced to shut down, the parents who can’t get childcare and miss out on a day’s pay, those people that can’t get to work, and the small companies that lose out on a day’s takings.”
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