Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/676/12254

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 June 2011

Busting the public sector pensions myths!

The Con-Dem ministers who attack the unions for taking strike action in defence of public sector pensions on 30 June are liars. They will say anything to try and divide the working class.
Here Sean Figg shows how some combine lies with manipulation of the "debate" onto false choices and myths that they themselves have created.

1. Public sector pensions are "too generous"

Surely this can only be answered by considering whether the pension does its job: provides a decent standard of living for a retired worker. On this measure no public sector pension is "too generous". The average pension for ordinary civil servants is just £4,200 a year. The average pension in the education sector is £10,000 a year.

The definition of poverty according to the government is living on less than 60% of the median income (£15,568 a year in 2010). No public sector pension gets close to this level.

2. Public sector pensions are "unfair" to workers in the private sector

True, 'Fred the Shred' Goodwin of bank collapse fame, for example, got £16 million. But most private sector workers get a raw deal on pensions. This is because the Tories already helped big business to decimate their pensions. Now they present the private sector as typical of some "natural" pension level, rather than a conscious pro-big business policy choice 20 years ago.

The Con-Dems will even argue that the tax paid by private sector workers is directly funding public sector pensions. But no government ear-marks funds in this way. Again, it is a pro-big business choice by the Con-Dems to cut taxes on bankers and the super-rich.

A successful campaign to defend public sector pensions must simultaneously be the launch point for a campaign to win back the pension rights of private sector workers. We're not falling for the divide and rule myth.

3. The country can no longer afford "gold-plated" public sector pensions

Arguments about the "national interest" include the following variants: "the public sector is too big", "the public debt is too high", "we're living too long" etc, etc. In other words, we should all take a hit for "the good of the country".

But currently public sector pensions are 1.9% of GDP. According to Lord Hutton's report this proportion will fall to 1.4% by 2060 without making a single change! The teachers' pension pot is self-funding, requiring no money from elsewhere.

The claim that we are living longer is another cover-up for Con-Dem policy choices. There is huge wealth in society that could fund earlier retirement on a living pension for all workers in the public and private sectors. The problem is that it is all locked away with the super-rich. The richest 1,000 people in Britain have £395 billion between them.

Socialist policies that took such vast wealth into democratic public ownership and spent it to the benefit of all would mean we could live into our hundreds without worrying about the "affordibility" of pensions.

4. "We're all in this together"

We have arrived at the big lie that explains the half-truths and obfuscations of the other pitiful arguments: "we are all in this together".

The attack on public sector pensions is part of a broader effort to make the working class pay for the crisis of capitalism. In the biggest rip-off in history the politicians are trying to let the banks and financial markets get away without contributing a penny to fix the economy they wrecked. Instead they think they can make the working class pay.

But of course they can't say that to us plainly and that explains the Houdini style contortions in the "debate" on public sector pensions...

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 22 June 2011:


Socialist Party feature

As the cuts bite, millions ask: 'Does it have to be like this?'


Building for 30th June

Con-Dems' pension attack - brutal class warfare must be fought

POA to hold protest meetings

Busting the public sector pensions myths!

Staffordshire NSSN builds support for 30 June action

Hillingdon workers back the pensions strike


Socialist Party workplace news

Strike action to defend Royal Mail jobs

Leeds Unison urges members to reject council's final offer

Coleg Morgannwg: Victory over victimisation

Barnsley lecturers fight job cuts

Unison conferences discuss action on pensions

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party news and analysis

Housing crisis

Con-Dems still plan to destroy NHS - Save our health service!

News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Greece's debt crisis threatens worldwide banking system


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Finsbury Park - No to A4e cheap labour schemes

Southern Cross bosses demand huge cuts in pay and conditions


Reviews and comments

Sri Lanka's killing fields

Readers' comment: apprentice sexists


Fighting the cuts

Southampton: strikes set to continue

200 workers challenge Labour council cuts

Labour MP fails to answer questions on cuts


Education

Comprehensive education under attack

Keep Tidemill in public hands

Spreading to primaries?


 

Home   |   The Socialist 22 June 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Pensions:

triangleTube workers strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions

triangleUniversity workers striking back

triangleNEU strike at girls' school chain over pensions

triangleSupport the university strikes!

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: The minimum wage and working week, pensions and benefits

Public sector:

triangleFight together for a pay rise

trianglePublic sector pay thaw - union fight is on for a real rise and funding

triangleFight for the pay rise we deserve

triangleWest London Socialist Party: How the unions can win a decent pay rise for health and other public sector workers

Working class:

triangleMay Day Greetings: Back the paper that backs the working class

triangleMutual aid, the welfare state and the fight for a new mass workers' party

triangleChile's working class delivers vote against ultra-right

Unions:

triangleSurrey: Unions and campaigns say stand as an anti-cuts candidate

triangleThe winter strike wave escalates as workers fight back and win

Strike:

triangleWorkers and students unite and fight

Pension:

triangle10,000 tube workers vote to strike over jobs, terms and pension cuts

Big business:

triangleCovering basic costs is hard, and it's getting worse

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

23/2/22

Workers

The Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

23/2/22

Birmingham

Vote Nellist for a workers' MP in Erdington

23/2/22

Unite

Unite and fight for a decent pay rise

23/2/22

NHS

Privatisation and crisis in the NHS

23/2/22

Covid

Johnson scraps Covid safety measures

23/2/22

Britain

Tories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

23/2/22

Bus

Bus services under threat

16/2/22

PCS

PCS Elections 2022: Time for new union leadership

16/2/22

Britain

Britain's economic growth figures mask fragile false recovery

16/2/22

Covid

Covid: Fight for full sick pay

16/2/22

Coventry

'Labour by name - Tory by policy'

16/2/22

Taxes

Tory stealth taxes burden 'packhorse generation'

16/2/22

Labour

Left Labour MPs under pressure over Erdington

16/2/22

London

Neither Washington, London nor Moscow

16/2/22

Police

Met police boss ousted

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999