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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Stop the Great Pensions Robbery - Lilian Macer

#uNDC11 This morning Lilian Macer of Scotland moved Composite B on 'Defending our Pensions' in the major debate of this year's Conference:

'The composite details some of the nature of the attack on our pensions.

It outlines the steps we will need to take,

in our branches, in our workplaces and in our communities

We will need to act in our own right as UNISON

But also as one union among many

standing up for fairness in work and decency in retirement.

It is vital that the Government are stopped

not just because they are attacking our elderly

All though they are

Not just because they are blighting the retirement prospects of millions - although they are doing that too

No. The government must be stopped because the attack on our pensions is designed to make it easier to privatise the services we deliver.

As Danny Alexander demonstrated last week ,

The Government don’t seem interested in a sensible dialogue about reforming pensions.

If they were they would at least be prepared to engage constructively with us - as the Scottish Government seem to be doing.

For the Con Dems it seems to be about undermining public sector pensions

With the aim of undermining public services

There is no other explanation

You cannot turn round

to people on low incomes,

with static wages,

In a time of inflation -

And tell them that their pension contributions are going to go up by a half.

For many people that will make the difference between joining and not joining a pension

As money gets tighter people will leave the schemes in large numbers

In the short term that makes it harder for the pension funds to function.

And in the longer term, it means the benefit bill goes up, as people retire without enough to live on.

So why are they doing it?

It’s not about affordability or economics - it’s about politics.

Yes, The Government will tell you they need to cut the amount of money they’re paying out, because they say they want to bring the deficit down.

And after all as Danny Alexander told us last week – we need to take pension cuts because...

“Everyone is under financial pressure right now”

I could be harsh here and point out that Mr Alexander earns £134 000 a year

– and that his boss Mr Osborne is a Millionaire ,

and his boss Mr Cameron is a millionaire too.

But that would be personalising the issue - And I’ll do that later.

But regarding this terrible financial pressure

I was reading through Sunday Times Rich List a few weeks ago

Between them the One Thousand Richest People in Britain are worth Three hundred and Ninety Five Billion Pounds

And in the last year their wealth went up

By eighteen percent

If the Tories were serious about cutting the deficit -

They would be making the super rich

- who aren’t so super , but by God are they rich

-pay their fair share.

That’s what they would be doing.

Not trying to steal from cleaners,

and dinner ladies ,

and nurses.

I’ll say it again.

Their attack on our pensions is about their politics

A politics that hates public services,

A politics that hates public servants,

A politics that loves privatisation.

They even admit it -

This is what John Cridland the director general of the CBI said about our pensions:

“Pension reforms will help the prime minister's "big society" programme to really get off the ground.

Public sector pensions remain the biggest barrier to the private and third sectors providing public services....

When third sector and private sector organisations currently bid for work they have to be able to cover the full cost of public sector pension liabilities, and many simply do not have the money to do so.”

There you have it

Straight from the fat cats mouth.

They are trying to steal our pensions so that they can privatise the services we deliver

And if there is anyone out there thinks privatising vital services is a good idea

I’ve only got two words to say to you


So Conference

By standing up for our pensions

We’re not just standing up for ourselves

We’re standing up for the services we deliver

and the people that depend on them.

So if you’re in your workplace and someone is saying

“Why should I bother, I’m not in the pension scheme?”

Tell them.

It’s their fight too - because after they’ve come for our pensions

They’ll come back for our jobs.

And when you’re outside work

And people are asking why they should be bothered about our pensions

Tell them that we really are all in this together

Tell them it’s as much a fight for them as it is for ourselves.

A fight for Decency at Work,

Dignity in Retirement

And their Public Services

That’s the case we should be making, in every workplace , in every community , in every politicians surgery

- and if the Government won’t see sense, Conference.

Let there be no doubt

It’s the case we’ll make from the picket line.

Conference –

I know pensions can sometimes seem like a complicated issue

But actually it’s not

Because the ConDems have changed this from a complex matter, of graphs and charts and percentages

They’ve put it in plain simple language

That can be understood by you

By me

And more importantly

every single one of our million members

The Con Dems want us to

Pay more.

Work longer.

And Get less.

Well Conference.

We have a response

in plain simple language

You’re. Not. On.

Not long ago, David Cameron labelled Public Servants, including our members, as enemies of enterprise.

I don’t believe him

But as long as David Cameron keeps acting like Robin Hood in reverse

He’s an enemy of decency.

As long as David Cameron is attacking our elderly and trying to blight our futures

He’s an enemy of decency

As long as he’s using pensions as a battering ram for privatisation

He’s an enemy of decency

Because our pensions are not a perk or a benefit,

They’re not a bonus or an added extra

Our pensions

are part of our wages

are part of our security, and our future

And we will not have them stolen from us.

So let’s take this campaign forward.

In the knowledge that,

if we fight we can win.

We can win this campaign – not just because we’ve got the determination, and the organisation, and the numbers (although we do)

No - We can win,

because we are on the side of

fairness in work, decency in retirement

and supporting public services.

David Cameron, is on the side of

Misery in work,

Poverty in retirement


Privatising public services.

Conference lets go out

work hard,

work together

and stop the Great Pensions Robbery'