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A flustered Francis Maude today couldn't justify the Tory position that public sector pensions are "unaffordable". In an interview on BBC's Today Program with PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, Maude was cornered on the "unaffordable" claim. He quickly U-turned on "unaffordable" with "untenable" - another undefined term to hide behind - he offered no explanation as to why the pensions are now "untenable". There's an interesting commentary on this debate by George Eaton over at New Statesman - if you look at the Hutton Report then, "The government's plan to ask employees to work longer and pay more is a political choice, not an economic necessity". As the Public Accounts Committee observed: "Officials appeared to define affordability on the basis of public perception rather than judgement on the cost in relation to either GDP or total public spending." In other words, the public have been misled and ministers are determined to keep misleading them.

At a rally in central London Sally Hunt, president of The University and College Union, had this to say about Nick Clegg's, "public sector pensions are gold-plated" comment: "The average pension of a female college lecturer is just £6,000 a year.  This is a government that has already presided over an increase in the income of the richest 1,000 people by 18%. How dare they call us gold-plated?"


On June 30th 750, 000 public sector workers will go on strike over pensions.

In the Autumn it is likely that 3 million public sector workers (including the NHS and Local Government, as well as Schools, Universities Civil Service etc) will go on strike. And I will be one of them.

We will be going on strike because the government is proposing to massively cut our pensions. To be more precise the government is saying we have to pay higher pension contribution, work longer and get a 30% average reduction in pension.

The government says the public sector pensions are not affordable and cost the country £3 billion a year to support. And this is after the government fiddled the rules in the last budget and decided to take a special £5 billion per year out of the public sector pension pot, So it is now making a loss.

Is it true that the 6th richest country in the world cant afford public sector pension?. Well it can there is huge tax avoidance by the very wealthy in the UK which can be used to plug any created pension gap. Tax avoidance runs at £120 billion a year. According to the National Audit Office 220 of the top 700 companies in the UK avoid paying corporation tax. As an example Vodaphone UK avoids paying tax to the tune of £3.2 billion annually (but is bidding for the next round of mobile phone contracts).

So should 3 million public sector workers have their and their families pensions cut or should Vodaphone UK continue to be allowed to tax avoid? I think I know the answer to that.

I also know that the government will say that Public workers should not have half ecent pensions when the private sector have poor and sometimes no pension, Well I agree with that. The private sector indeed all working people should have decent final salary full pensions. It will cost of course and is estimated to cost £20 billion a year. We should do it. Should private sector workers and their families get full decent final year salary pensions or should 5 other companies like Vodaphone continue to tax avoid every year. I think I know the answer to that.

I encourage all ordinary working people of Pendle to support the Pension disputes.

We and our families need full pensions.


The BBC is reporting that members of the National Union of Teachers and the Associations of Teachers and Lecturers are expected to walk out on 30 June.  The seriousness of this action is reflected by this being the first time that the moderate ATL has ever taken national strike action. The unions say the pensions changes will leave them working longer, paying more and getting less when they retire.  I don't see any bonus-bulging bankers worrying about their pensions.

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