Saturday, June 18, 2011

They lost that one too.

The public service unions after 13 years of cosseting and enlarging by labour are now beginning to feel the pinch of the coagulations slow down in borrowing and the squeeze that is being put on their gold plated retirement funds along with their early retirement age. It's obvious to anyone outside of the public service that things couldn't continue the way they were going and that in order to pay for their pensions they were either going to have to pay more or work longer. It was also fairly obvious that other than direct frontline services where the public come into contact with public services, police, nurses, doctors and firemen along with a healthy respect for the armed services, the rest of them are not held in such high esteem. So when a public union apparatchik boasts of a general strike bigger than the one in 1926, you can imagine the rejoicing.

Britain is facing the biggest wave of industrial action since the 1926 general strike, Dave Prentis, the leader of the largest public sector union, has warned. 
In issuing his threat, Mr Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, has stoked the row over Government pension reforms. Unions are considering walking out on negotiations over plans to make most public sector employees work longer and pay more for less generous pensions.
Mr Prentis said: “It will be the biggest since the general strike. It won’t be the miners’ strike. We are going to win.”
Danny Alexander, The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, provoked union anger by warning public sector workers it would be a “colossal mistake” to reject a deal that was the best they could hope for.
The reforms include increasing the general retirement age in the public sector from 60 to 66, moving from a final salary system to benefits based on career-average earnings and raising contributions by an average 3.2%.
But Mr Alexander insisted that those on the lowest incomes would not have to pay any more and that low and middle earners would get roughly the same benefits as they do now.
Question is, will those of us in employment even notice the vast majority of those who go on strike? Food will be delivered, taxes paid by employers, fuel delivered papers on sale life will go on as normal. We might notice the strike during abnormal circumstances, needing medical attention, or the police/fire service but the blame for their absence will shift to the unions, not necessarily the members.
Oh I'm sure some of those on the left are licking their chops at the chance of bringing the government down, but I suspect that all they'll do is harden resolve, the public aren't stupid, they know the pot has run dry. What they might end up with is a new government with a Tory majority and one hell bent on revenge. The unions hated what Thatcher did to them, but they forget it was they who tipped her hand, it will be interesting to see who wins this, but I suspect it wont be the public services. Push hard enough and I expect we'll see the echelons of the public sector gutted, some areas privatised and much in the way of background services reduced.
Perhaps this strike will be a good thing after all, return us to the days where public servants were just that, public servants and not a massive bloated bureaucracy dedicated to the upkeep of the bureaucracy. Fact is we don't need so many of them working in the background and they know it, that's why they'll push the case of those who do work in the frontline as a smokescreen.
They'll lose, they may win a battle or two, but they'll lose.

2 annotations:

thespecialone said...

I have worked in both the public sector and the private sector (own business). I can tell you that it is definitely easier in the public sector. Yes I actually am in a job that is worth doing and produces results. I do not have the word 'diversity' in my job title. I am nothing to do with 'eco-', etc etc. What I can say is that the waste of money and other resources in the public sector is enormous. There are also loads of jobs in my particular department that are 'surplus to requirements'. If the government/councils really were prepared to cut budgets, then they could do so easily without harming frontline services. As for the unions, I wouldn't, and haven't, joined any of them.

English Pensioner said...

As a pensioner, I'm wondering what effect that a strike might have on my wife and I.
I suppose that our pensions might not be paid on time, but other than that, unless the NHS comes to a halt, I can't see how I would be affected. In fact it is the very people who the unions claim they want to help who are likely to be the ones who will suffer. If teachers strike, well we might have to look after our grandson. no great inconvenience, for a few days.
Let them strike, I just hope their pay will be stopped, but somehow I doubt it.