As a senior accountancy assistant in the NHS, I am writing to explain why I am in favour of industrial action on November 30 in defence of public sector pensions. I want the public to understand why I feel I have no choice but to take action.
Contrary to what government ministers are saying, public sector pensions are not gold-plated – the government’s own analysis shows that the average NHS service pension is just £4,087 a year.
The NHS pension scheme is self-funding and each year collects £2billion more in contributions than it pays out in benefits.
Public sector pensions were renegotiated by the last government in 2008, so retirement ages and contribution rates have already been increased. But now the Westminster coalition wants me and other colleagues to pay on average 50 per cent more to receive 50 per cent less – and wants me to work longer to get it. The government has moved the goal posts dramatically, with the result that my retirement income is set to plummet.
The unions, including my union Unite, have continually tried to negotiate with ministers on this issue, but have been constantly stonewalled and ignored.
I will be supporting the day of action, not because I want a gold-plated pension, but to protect my already very modest pension for which I have already paid into and worked very hard for over many years.
I think that’s the least I deserve in my retirement.