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Date 30 November 2011

Solid strike - with great public support – shows government must stop Great Pensions Robbery

At a pensions strike rally in the Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow, UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said:

"Public sector workers are entitled to pensions that are affordable, sustainable and fair. Public sector workers are doing what successive governments have told them to do to prepare for life after work.

"At a time of pay freezes, pay caps, real pay cuts, significant increases in national insurance contributions, higher VAT, rising inflation and fuel costs,
we believe it is wrong to require public service workers to increase their pension contributions. Contributions which will go straight to the Treasury
to pay off the deficit caused by the banks.

"50% increase in monthly contributions for 15% less benefits over the lifetime of drawing benefits. Some Fair Deal on Pensions.

"The real pensions’ crisis is in the private sector – where two thirds of employers do not pay a single penny towards their workers’ pensions.

"It could cost this country up to £15 billion to support the millions of private sector workers who have been locked out of saving for their retirement.

"Never before have so many public service workers - and so many women - taken action. We know that today’s strike is being lead by women – 3.7 million could be affected by the plans to make detrimental changes to pensions.

"And they won’t be fooled by government ministers’ claims that their justified action will hit jobs. They know the real reasons that the dole queues are growing are the disastrous choices the government is making.

"The critics of today - the bonus billionaires and Tory Cabinet millionaires - know nothing of the value of public services, where we care for elderly and infirm, we teach children, empty bins and save lives.

"And as floods hit parts of Scotland people resort to public services for assistance. But on a day like today, you don’t want to hear from me.

"You’d rather hear from George the police civilian in Dundee, who, with his colleagues, walked off the shift at midnight.

"You’d rather hear from Tina the nurse in Inverness Tina has worked as a nurse for 27 years. She looks after outpatients at her local hospital £597 worse off today because of the 50% contributions, £1,275 worse off tomorrow because of the cut in benefits.

"Davena and the security staff at Glasgow Caley University marched off shift at midnight... led by a piper.

"Nursery nurse Carol, tackled her first live TV interview last night,
to tell Scotland, that after 30 years paying a pension
she’s being robbed."


ends

For further information contact:
Mike Kirby on 07939 143 355 or Stephen Low on 0141 342 2811/ 0795 685 2822

Note to editors
Reports from across Scotland are consistent in showing that the strike is solid and being given a lot of support and approval from the public. The strike continues until midnight - a few workplaces will have pickets until then, particularly if they have late shifts due to start before midnight.

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