Tomorrow nearly half a million public sector workers, including my union (UCU), PCS and Unite health workers will be taking part in more industrial action in the ongoing fight back against government attacks on our pensions. This is the same week that Lord Hutton, the Labour peer who was the architect of the attack, has landed a job which will net him £1000 a day in the new part privatised civil services pensions arm. http://goo.gl/Fz0rk
Pension changes started to hit this month, taking a chunk out of public sector worker’s payslips at the same time as an escalating price of living, high VAT, wage freezes and redundancy threats. The changes will penalise part time (predominantly) female workers the most, having a bigger impact in terms of smaller over all earnings to start with. The changes will also increase the gender gap in pension poverty with a move to lifetime averages which will magnify the effect of the gap already caused by women taking on the majority of social care labour, unpaid, at the expense of earning an income.
Attacks on public sector pay and conditions are bad news for all workers, but particularly in terms of equality. The pay gap in the public sector, whilst still there, is considerably smaller than the private sector, and conditions to support women in work are considerably better. There is a knock on effect from public to private sector when these conditions are undermined, and big private employers such as Tesco are already taking the lead from the coalition attack by mirroring retirement changes which will see poorly paid staff working longer into their old age to prop up the bloated capitalists above them ( http://goo.gl/akO8G )
So tomorrow morning I will be back on the picket in the next round of this ongoing battle against a forced imposition of payment for corporate greed onto my family and those of millions of workers like me. I hope you will be joining me.