Well, actually I’m not technically going on strike. Angus Council, several years ago, decided that in order to celebrate St. Andrews Day, it would move a bank holiday elsewhere in the year to the end of November. So I already had tomorrow off. But I will be marching in Dundee alongside my colleagues from other councils, and across the public sector.
The argument is about more than pensions, it’s about fairness. Is it fair to expect public sector workers to pay an extra 3% of their wages in order to reduce the deficit caused by the banks? No, of course not. Is it right that people should be expected to work longer, pay in more and receive less? No, it isn’t. Are public sector pensions unaffordable? No, they’re not.
So, if there isn’t anything wrong, why the changes? And why are they being forced upon us? The only answer is that these are ideological cuts, aimed at destroying the public sector. It is aimed at forcing a divide between the public sector and the private. To make people think that we get gold-plated pensions is to try and turn the public against us. It’s really an attempt to portray the current Government as somehow standing up for the private sector against the public – a cynical attempt to garner votes through smears and slurs – truly the Daily Mail-ification of politics.
Everyone deserves a decent pension. I’m fighting for mine, and for those of my colleagues in the public sector. When I worked in the private sector, and saw decent pension schemes for ordinary workers closed I didn’t think “well, if I can’t have a good pension, neither should public sector workers”. I thought to myself that these schemes can’t be that bad, if the directors and senior managers can still have them.
That’s why I’ll be out on strike, marching in Dundee, to show my solidarity. Not because I’m in the public sector, but because the cause is just and honourable.