UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Where does Labour stand on the Hutton Review - a response

UNISONActive asked ‘where does Labour stand on the Hutton Review?’ and it is a moot point. During the Labour leadership campaign (and seduced by the prospect of trade union votes) some candidates were unequivocal in saying they would support maintaining the TUC agreement on public sector pensions. Notably the Ed that won it.

This was in stark contrast to Andy Burnham who committed to a fairer distribution of contributions and maintaining a final salary scheme. David Miliband was a bit more equivocal than his little brother and argued that the government should commit to not making any changes to public sector pensions ‘without consensus, including with the relevant trade unions’. Arguably a more honest response than little Ed who has since dismissed the idea of unions striking against pension changes, arguing it would be damaging to fighting the coalition on cuts and that we should ‘await the outcome of the Hutton review’.

Well now the outcome of the Hutton review is marginally less secret than Katie Prices’ bra size perhaps Ed Miliband would like to review his recent comments? http://www.unionstogether.org.uk/blog/entry/your_questions_answered_-_week_three_-_public_sector_pensions/

What would be damaging to our members is not strike action but a catastrophic attack on public sector pensions – not just making us pay more, for longer and getting less at the end of it but potentially collapsing the scheme viability as opting out becomes the only affordable option for many of our members.

Strike action is a lesser evil than a retirement spent in poverty and relying upon top up benefits which will also be cut under this and future right wing administrations. Ed and Balls need to show their mettle and make the powerful economic case for decent public sector pensions.

Trade unions would be right to feel aggrieved by the lost romance of Ed’s leadership campaign. His whispered passion on public sector pensions have quickly been forgotten in the humdrum toil of a marriage on the left. But marriage is not always for ever.......

Anna Rose