We are not foolhardy or outrageous, Coun Porter

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In the last week South Holland District Council leader Gary Porter has labelled the proposed strike action as foolhardy and more recently an “outrageous idea”.

Does he really think that members of the various unions who are going on strike on November 30 have not given a lot of thought and agonised over this decision.

In fact our union leaders have been in negotiations with government since February, but the government has not moved from its original stance of “pay more, work longer and get less”.

Our pension contributions have been part of our yearly pay awards, which is why in the public sector we have accepted lower wage increases.

Now the government wants us to pay more into our own pensions at a time when many of us have had our wages frozen for three years, and watched our employment terms and conditions get eroded away.

For many of us, we cannot afford the proposed increase in our pension contributions, in a time when everything is going up in price. We do not have the spare money. And why should we?

My father along with others of his generation fought in World War Two and through the union negotiated pensions to support us in our old age.

The reality is that many members will opt out of the various pension schemes and then in their old age will not be in a position to live off the state pension and will require additional benefits and therefore become an economical burden on society.

Lastly I would like to point out there are no gold-plated pensions. The average pension for a female Unison member is £2,600 per year.

So please support your nurses, teachers and local government workers on November 30 – we are not foolhardy and this course of action is not outrageous.

Gill Thomas

Workplace representative

Unison Spalding