Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Support the J30 strike. Today, across Britain.

As Britain faces its biggest day of industrial action for many years, with around three quarters of a million public sector staff striking over cuts to their pensions, the mass media have unsurprisingly rallied to support the Government (and the treacherous Labour Party Opposition) in condemning the action and repeating the long used lie about "gold plated" pensions.

The Daily Telegraph leads with a luridly dreadful piece of disinformation - 
Public sector strike: £500,000 pension pot of striking teachers revealed
The Telegraph claims that a teacher on £32,000 p.a. will retire with a pot of this size; which if they have worked and paid into the scheme for 40 years is perhaps not surprising. But what the article doesn't clarify is that the £500k is the pot that they might have to pay their pension out off for the rest of their lives, not the actual pension they receive. On £32,000, the maximum permissible annual pension payable (not the pot it is paid from) is 1/2 the final salary, i.e., a somewhat less impressive £16,000 p.a., well below the UK average salary of around £23,200 p.a. (although the state pension will plug some of this gap). It is hardly "gold-plated", nor is it typical - the average yield from state pensions for retired teachers is around £10,000 and for all public sector workers is under £6,000 pa.

"This is 20 times higher than the average private sector scheme, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics." Daily Telegraph.

The Telegraph frets that public sector workers are somehow treated unjustifiably well compared to private sector workers. They don't stop to consider, perhaps, that if their figures were actually true and £6,000, or even £16,000 p.a. really is 20 times more than private sector pensions pay, then this is not a comment on bad practice in the public sector. Rather, it would be yet another example of how the private sector's owners comprehensively shaft their employees, pauperising them while guzzling plentifully out of the trough for themselves.

Unfair comment? Not at all. The audit of public sector pensions shows them to be sustainable and actually to be set to decline as a cost in real terms over the next decades, contrary to Government assertions that they have become unaffordable. Moreover, as public sector workers are lectured (in the Telegraph again) by Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander (Lib Dem, Cairngorms National Park) on the need for austerity, it emerges unsurprisingly that private sector bosses have not just gold, but titanium armour-plated pensions awaiting them as they spin out their final days on God's golf courses.

Millions set aside for fat-cat pensions
The "Morning Star", Britain's only genuinely left-wing national newspaper, reports an Income Data Services survey that shows the Directors of the top private companies in the UK enjoy pensions averaging £140,000 per annum - that's their pensions, not their pots. These people are raking in something of the order of seven times the supposedly fat-cat teacher, and a massive 24 times the average public sector pensioner.
Green leader Caroline Lucas - the only party leader to support the action
So there we have it - Tory paper tells fibs about strikers. Not news at all, but yet another piece of propaganda to try to steamroller through the destruction of our public services by a process of divide and rule.

But the risk for the Telegraph and its allies is that while they may try to cleverly misconstrue what the real picture is via misleading comparisons (something the Star is also a tad guilty of at one point in its article), the anger of the mass public with the people who run our society, its workplaces and media is rising. Just as this week in Greece, protests turned violent, so the days of impunity on the part of the established order in the UK may be drawing to a close.

Today (June 30th), join the protests, join the strikers around the country - show your support for fair pay for pensioners and for the beleaguered public sector. Join the Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, MP, on the picket lines or in marches and rallies, even if you don't work in the sector. Its fate concerns us all - the public services are about all of us, our communities and well-being.

Don't listen to the lies - JOIN THE J30 TODAY! 


  1. actually maximum is half final salary - it is up to 40/80


  2. Even worse - sorry, I was going by the legal maximum for final pension salaries. Public sector workers get less than this already - apologies and corrected.