These public sector workers are having their pensions attacked. All semblance of negotiation on this was thrown out of the water when Danny Alexander unilaterally announced the changes being imposed by the Government. For most this will mean a huge increase in pension contributions, in some cases a doubling, in return for less benefits and a sudden increase in the retirement age. For workers who had been planning to retire at 60 in only a few years time this has been snatched away at a stroke.
Apart from the unfairness of this attack targeted on our public sector brothers and sisters, yet again we are seeing this ConDem Government finding ways to make working people pay for the crisis. Cuts in public funding of pension schemes in the public sector, job cuts, pay freezes and massive cuts to our public services and our welfare state are not necessary and not acceptable. The Trade Union Movement says loud and clear there is an alternative. Tens of billions of pounds a year are evaded or avoided in tax by the rich and powerful who are being let off scot free yet are to blame for the crisis. Combined with a financial transaction tax (Robin Hood tax), the recovery of the missing tax billions would be more than enough to replace all the ConDem Government's spending cuts
Furthermore this ConDem Government's austerity budget will not work. All the evidence shows that massive spending cuts will deflate the economy with the inevitable effect of reducing tax receipts to the Government and increasing Government expenditure on welfare benefits, thus increasing the deficit not reducing it. Ireland and Greece are prime examples of repeated attempts to balance the public sector deficit by massive spending cuts only to find the deficit has not reduced and even more cuts are deemed necessary!! Failing economies need public spending stimulus and the creation of jobs to ensure a steady recovery.
Yes there certainly is an alternative and we will be speaking about this loud and clear on 30th June. This is a march in support of the strikers but we urgently need the support of other trade unionists, workers, students, pensioners, tenants associations and campaign groups and above all the ordinary people of Sheffield to come and show we are “in it together” - not in support of the Tories but in the fightback against the cuts!