Report cast workers as the problem

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It is with dismay that the Courier chose to join in the Tory party attacks on council workers “what you pay for council workers pensions £11.3m (Courier Tuesday 13th December 2011).

This one sided report does nothing but cast Council employees as the problem; nothing is further from the truth.

Councillor Baines is reported as saying that the cost of pensions has risen to £11.3 million pounds per year, yet there is no commentary on how or why this has happened. How much of this cost is as a result of the Conservative led administration increasing the redundancy payments to 104 weeks just in time for the senior management review, and the subsequent senior officers who have since retired?

How much of the increase covers those employees who have had to retire due to being injured at work, or retired though ill health, or made redundant?

It’s conveniently forgotten that the last Conservative administration cost the tax payers in Calderdale an extra £6million for the refuse collection contract.

In the last year the Conservative Party in Calderdale has systematically attempted to attack the terms and conditions of staff in Calderdale, they have tried to force redundancy to the lowest possible terms, tried to force the council to break the law in respect of trade union facility time and now setting public and private on a head to head collision over pensions’.

But wait a minute, aren’t council employees tax payers too? Things that are conveniently missed out about pensions are.

1.Public sector workers pay 3 times into pensions schemes, through direct contributions, through income tax, through council tax. 2.Public sector workers pay towards the pensions of police, fire, armed forces MP’s etc etc. 3.If public sector employees did not save for retirement the likelihood is they would be on benefits, paid for by....... the taxpayer.

Public sector employees do not have the opportunity to Veto plans like David Cameron did in Europe, they only have one way to show their displeasure, an industrial route.

Public sector pensions are far from gold plated, and forcing people to pay 50% extra is not the way to make schemes viable, neither is raiding £900 million in extra contributions to go to the treasury.

And if like Councillor Hardy states that only 1 in 10 private sector workers has access to a pension approaching the same as a public sector worker is it not a better idea to improve private schemes to prevent pensioner poverty?

So Mr Editor instead of one sided reporting why not ask the employees side for their comments as well

Gary Firth

Branch Secretary

Calderdale UNISON