Fools and their "gold-plated" pensions

Fools and their "gold-plated" pensions

Public sector workers have been fools. No more so than private sector workers, for sure, but it has been a breathtaking level of foolishness across the board which has led to the imminent extinction of the entire concept of final salary pensions*.

First they came for the staff of the weakest private sector companies
Then they came for the strong
Then they split the public sector into chunks to pick off one by one
Then they closed the schemes to newcomers in the public sector and Royal Mail

Finally, when everyone else had lost their pensions, and there was no-one else to speak out, they came for the long-term public sector workers whose situation was the same as when this process had started.

And this time, because everyone else was now on working life pensions, worth thousands of pounds less, the press was able to castigate them for their "gold-plated" payouts.

This whole process has been one long, well-orchestrated assault on the working class over the course of a decade. The foolishness has been in how everyone has just stood there (or went on poorly-attended demos and one-day strikes) trying to defend their own turf, bereft of solidarity.

The public sector didn't defend the private sector, who saw no reason to stick their necks out for the public sector when their turn came (and indeed, now burble about how much they resent paying for public sector workers' retirement). The existing workers failed to protect the new workers, who in turn saw nothing in it for them when older workers came under attack a few months or years down the line.

Congratulations all you who sat smug with the thought that "Thatcher was necessary to break the unions". What she broke was class solidarity, and your precarious future, wrapped up against the chill air as you decide which one to pay for, heat or food, is the direct result.

*For the working class at least, Bosses are doing rather nicely, thankyou

Posted By

Rob Ray
Aug 26 2009 12:06


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Aug 26 2009 12:28

"the working class: are shite"

Rob Ray
Aug 26 2009 12:32

Well it's certainly not covered itself in glory this time round.

Aug 26 2009 17:18

Yes, she didn't break the unions, they are still around with lots of highly paid officials and seats at the government's table.

And they have done a good job of helping keep workers divided to prevent a unified fight over pensions, and often sabotaged action when it did happen - during our 2006 local government strike over pensions, for example, which was massively successful, with a second day of action planned which they then called off to return to negotiations, which then dragged on for ages. When the bosses still said they were going to cut our pensions the unions then presented this as a huge victory, and recommend everyone accept it. Of course as the strikes had all been called off we had no leverage anymore, so people had to accept it.

Of course, the "goldplated" pensions is actually a bullshit invention by the media.

Us Council workers have managed to hold on to our final salary pensions for now, but they are far from goldplated. The average local government pension is under £3500 per year - with many women workers retiring with only £1800 per year or less.

On top of that, to get this, we have all paid in 6.5% or more of our wages every month into this pension fund.

I'm assuming the blog post title is more for effective than proper analysis. Because the situation is much more complicated. Of course, if all workers had fought together right away to defend the first group of workers whose pensions were attacked, and all said that we would all strike indefinitely if any of our pensions were cut, then we would all be fine.

However, if that doesn't happen, which it's not going to, then it doesn't leave much choice. You can try to talk to people about doing something like it, but you try talking to 30 million workers telling them to strike.

Building widespread solidarity, so that people will stick up for each other, is a very long and arduous process, which was given a huge setback following the assault on the working class from the 1980s onwards.

Rob Ray
Aug 26 2009 21:55

Well yeah the headline (and indeed the post in general) is aimed for provocative effect, I'm not actually suggesting that 30 million people actively sat down and thought "ah fuck those bastards I'll be alright."

Sep 1 2009 15:52

Pensions are in danger everywhere and it is the fault of nearly every government in the world. There are people who believe that this plan has been in the works for quite some time. casino