It’s a strike – the public services are revolting.

Yes, you read it right, the public service over here is in revolt.

In a move that has completely missed the irony of parents having less leave now because they’ve had to use a day of it to mind their kids, teachers, lecturers and some other public service monkeys that no one who didn’t intend to catch a flight or appear in court today will notice are missing, went on strike over plans to make then work more hours and contribute more towards their pensions, which will be worth less.

They’ll be holding a rally and march in central London, no doubt between the hours of 9 and 5 because those are contract hours and the public service doesn’t do unpaid overtime unless you’re in the armed forces. It explains why there were no pickets at the 3 schools I passed on the way to work this morning at 7.15am. The issue they have is this – the gold plated pensions used to be available to public sector workers with minimal contributions because the wages you got in the public service were crap. The problem I have is this – they aren’t any more, in many types of work they are among the best. So therefore they no longer require the unaffordable pension because they can afford to save it like the rest of us.

We’ve had various representatives of public sector workers on the tv blathering about how they can’t afford to make bigger contributions to their pension because the cost of living has gone up and their pay rises haven’t matched inflation. Boo fucking hoo people, I haven’t had a pay rise since 2008 and I pay for mine. How do you think I get on? I buy less stuff. That’s what you do. It’s how the world works. Their pensions are currently unaffordable because a) the public service has swelled to ridiculous numbers and b) people are living longer. If something isn’t done then there’ll be no pension at all by the time I get old but as far as I can see, the teachers, who are very decently paid ( a mid range teacher receives approx £32 a year which is hardly minimum wage)  especially when you consider that they get 3 months plus ‘out of the office’ per year, don’t give a flying rat’s backside if the rest of us are fucked into a cocked hat and have to spend our twilight years foraging for food in bins inbetween 18 hour shifts at the coal face, as long as they get their nice cushy pension and are able to retire at 60. And we get to pay for it too. Lucky us. Nurses I could understand, they do a grim job, in grim places, they get vomited on regularly, they aren’t very well paid for what they do, their hours are often lousy and they only get the standard amount of holiday. But teachers? And assorted other public service goons who are so inconsequential that no one has noticed who they are and that they didn’t turn up for work today? No. What the teachers are also clearly telling us is that they wouldn’t want to lose any of their own leave by demonstrating and marching in half term but they don’t give a toss if parents have to lose a day of their leave or the leave of all police has been cancelled as the various forces need their offices to prevent violence at the demos. They want the support of the private sector but tell me this: how many public sector workers downed tools to protest when Brown launched his smash and grab on private pensions? Bugger all, that’s how many. What they want is no longer affordable for the country and if I hear one more whine about ‘Why should the public sector pay the price for the bank’s excesses?’ I will not be reponsible for my actions. I work in civil engineering, why the hell should I? It was nothing to do with me but I am paying, and on less than a mid range teacher as well. It’s just yet another example of the ridiculous culture of entitlement that has bred in this country in recent times, “we don’t care about the cost to others, we’re entitled to it”. Well guess what? You’re not.

And this is why I do not support today’s strike.

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6 Responses

  1. Ironic that after receiving this, I got an email from HM Customs and Revenue telling me of a tax refund. Wow – crap pensions and someone in some far away country is trying to scam me out of my already heavily drawn into hard earned cash? It’s a good job I’m not in the public service….

    I do not support today’s strike, but I support your rant word for word.

  2. With you all the way – and I’ve worked in local government!

    It should be pay for performance like many areas of private sector and it’s true that in the past the better pension for public workers was the trade-off for earning less – not applicable now and hasn’t been for about the last ten years…

    Moaning about low pay rises when many people have had nil in years and when you earn more than them in the first place isn’t going to play to anyone’s sympathies. Especially when they have had to work longer for less money, undertake job share and other plush options in order to keep businesses going in a tough economic environment.

    Notice there was less support and striking for loss of services in cuts etc. affecting the areas they dedicate their working lives to – but take something off them and the gloves really come off.

    Incidentally (you’ll like this I’m sure) – with the wonderful set-up of flexi-time which most of the public sector make use of you can actually get an additional 20 days per year holiday – not to mention the part ‘flex’ days where you work a minimum of four hours – add this to the nice packages of up to 40 days leave at senior levels with added ‘service’ leave and they can be off just as long as teachers!

    Damn placards pissed me off today – giving the impression it was about jobs and loss of services – clueless!

    • Right with you Mel, the worst ones I saw were blatant child abuse – making them carry placards to the effect of “When I grow up I want my mummy to have a good pension” and my personal favourite in Liverpool “Hands off me ma’s pension”.

      No-one is taking the pension off her, they’re asking her to put more of her own money into it. My company one which 12 years ago was bloody good, has become crap and now requires me to pay more. I am paying more. Well, I thought I was, but according to an email from my pensions team I haven’t been doing due to an ‘admin’ error. Brilliant. So this month not only am I paying MORE into my own pension for MY and MY FAMILY’S future, I had to pay a pretty substantial amount because some fecktard couldn’t use a computer properly and screwed up my contributions. I’m still going into work. I’m still paying into my pension because at the end of the day, it’s for me.

      As Vicola put it in her blog, I’ve had to start spending less too – no payrises for 5 years I think, but thanks to my company I got a hefty 2% rise this year because we’re doing reeeeally well. Pretty sure that doesn’t cover cost of living increases for the last 5 years, but I’ve done THAT bit myself.

  3. 100% with you. But this strike, and the offer behind it, makes me hate the fucking politicians even more. Because while the politicals are busy fucking the entire public sector over, they’ve just fucking awarded themselves a pension increase of 3.2%.

  4. I’m hoping public servants would be shouted down by the remainder of Australians if they tried to strike here….but never can tell.

    Wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments about nurses.

  5. There is no doubt that the current model of public sector pensions is no longer supportable; it hasn’t been for years but the previous government made the employer suck up the shortfall – changes do need to be made and I can’t actually see any other way than individuals increasing their contributions.

    I do just want to say a few things in support of teachers. Whilst I wouldn’t suggest that their work is akin to nurses, it’s not so far different. I know several people who are teachers – they work long hours in and out of the classroom – lesson planning, report writing, marking work and their lives are stressful – and these are the lucky ones where the children do tend to knuckle down and get on with some work.

    I have a friend who works at a school in east London – she is rarely without headlice or ringworm; the children come to school without having had any food – they are disruptive, agressive – mostly verbally but sometimes physically, she has to deal with the social services coming into the classroom to collect children whose parents have just been arrested and they’re being taken into care; she has to deal with rude and agressive parents – people for whom education means nothing, where school is somewhere they can dump their kids and they expect the teachers to be the ones teaching their children discipline, rather than to read or write.

    I don’t know about you, but I consider myself lucky – I went to a good school – the teachers were good and my peers, by and large, wanted to learn. My children go to a good school where the kids eat their 5-a-day and wear hand-made, sustainably sourced tunics woven out of lentils. We’re lucky, the teachers at my children’s school are lucky – the parents encourage their children to do well and some of them will pay for extra tuition – there’s no denying that these teachers have a relatively cushy life – even if they can’t offer the 1-2-1 support some children need, the parents take up the slack and the school gets a good rating.

    I think my point is that like nursing, teaching is a vocation – most teachers undertake the training because they want to impart knowledge to the next generation – I just think it must be such a buzz to see a child suddenly ‘get’ quadratic equations or to see a group wowed by a chemical reaction. Sadly, many teachers don’t get to realise that vocation because they’re there to negotiate a battle ground every day. It must be soul destroying. None of my friends trained to be teachers for the pensions, but sometimes the thought if it can be the only thing that keeps them going.

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