Really interesting article by Andrew Ellson in The Times on the dilemma faced by major trade union Unison given its decision to cut back its staff pension scheme whilst having robustly opposed similar proposals within the public sector. Fascinating that he quotes the Office of National Statistic research that shows average earnings in the public sector at £532 per week against £460 in the private sector, debunking the myth that more generous pension benefits compensates public sector employees for lower earnings – something I’ve tried to debunk previously myself!!
There needs to be a serious debate about public sector pensions and one would hope that having experienced final salary pension issues first hand Unison might begin to recognise that need. Prospect, Unite and Community unions have all recently made threats about industrial action related to pensions and a TUC motion to defend DB pensions was passed at their conference in September.
Politicians of all hues are becoming increasingly aware of the issue and in these recessionary times and with a clear divide between public and private sector pensions politicians are likely to receive support, and even encouragement, from the private sector electorate to seriously grasp this issue and the population is likely to be very unsympathetic to industrial action in the public sector.