The government portrays public sector workers as a privileged group who enjoy better wages and working conditions than those in the private sector. They are lying.
Kathryn Healey is a gallery assistant at the National Gallery in London—and has to get by on the minimum wage. She told Socialist Worker, “Every year rents go up. But we’ve got a pay freeze. I can’t even afford to buy reduced food in Morrisons—yet I work an average of 50 hours a week.”
The government’s planned pension reforms would see workers pay more, work longer and get lower pensions. For many, being asked to contribute more each month would drive them out of the pension scheme.
Sharon Green, a PCS member in Manchester,said, “I stand to lose £70,000 and will have to pay an extra £65 a month. I am one of the thousands of women also affected by the increase in the state pension age.
“We need to continue the fight to protect the pensions of our colleagues, not just those who are close to retirement.”
Teachers in particular say plans to force them to retire later are unworkable.
Zahra Welch, a primary school teacher in Newham in east London, told Socialist Worker, “I’m on the floor with children for 90 percent of the time. I don’t want to be doing that when I’m 68.”
And teacher Beverley pointed out that attacks on public sector pensions would hit private sector workers too.
“My husband’s in the private sector,” she told Socialist Worker. “My pension is what we will be living on when we retire—he doesn’t have one.”