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The public sector strikes; a big success or a “damp squib”?

Today has seen one of the biggest industrial actions in living memory.  Members of 29 trade unions (all of whom are public sector workers) voted to strike today, in opposition to proposed government reforms to public sector pensions. The government is still in talks with the unions over the reform plans.

The government are proposing a £2.8bn increase in contribution payments by 2014/2015, pegging the retirement age to the state pension age and switching the way pension contributions are increased every year from the higher RPI rate of inflation to the lower CPI rate.

The government also plan to move staff from final salary schemes to career average schemes. Approximately 2.6 million people from across the range of public sector posts from teachers to immigration officers and care workers were ballotted – with an estimated 750,000 voting yes.  The government say that the reforms are part of the plan to cut public spending, cut the deficit and improve the economy; however the plan faces large opposition as it will cut the amount the size of many people’s pensions. CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING

Government’s proposals on public sector pensions leaves the unions in a tricky position

The biggest general strike in generations was thrown into doubt yesterday after the government offered up the Trade Unions an improved deal on public sector pensions. The unions, who have been threatening a mass walkout for months in light of the government’s original proposals, sought to make it clear last night that as things currently stand the strike will go ahead. However, union leaders were speaking in markedly less militant tones about the government yesterday which suggests there may yet be a compromise to be had which would see the strikes called off.   Read the rest of this entry

Why I despair over Italy.

I am thinking of adding clairvoyant to my CV; amid, what have so far been rather lackluster attempts to get the government to agree to spending cuts and the like, Italy has gone on strike. Well, not exactly all of Italy, but enough to make the day-to-day running very difficult. Some of the BBC’s more creative headline writers are clearly on holiday, one headline I saw on their website said ‘Italian austerity measures prove unpopular’, I think there are few people who would welcome austerity measures at any time, but when there is no money left in the kitty, you have to tighten your beautifully hand stitched leather belt; unless of course you are Italian it seems. Read the rest of this entry

The Unions will continue to fight for fairer public sector pension reform

When over half a million public sector workers walked out on strike at the end of last month over the issue of pensions, it seemed we were set for a summer standoff between the government and the unions that might dominate the political landscape for the foreseeable future. Of course the phone-hacking scandal and the subsequent fallout have shunted such a confrontation towards the side-lines but from there the battle goes on and the last fortnight has seen several interesting developments. Click here to keep reading

Strikes and Protests: the Trade Union way of Attention Seeking?

Last week BBC journalists became the latest to strike in opposition to job cuts. The one day walk-out caused little disruption to broadcasting and was more of an inconvenience than a disaster. However, the same cannot be said of other strikes in recent times. The teacher’s strike at the end of June was one example that caused widespread irritation and resentment. Why should innocent children have their education affected no matter what is going on with their teacher’s pension? Click here to keep reading

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