Its now 2 days before what is set to be one of the largest strikes in British history – millions of public sector workers will be refusing to work on Wednesday as part of a campaign to reverse huge planned Government cuts to public sector pensions.
However it is obvious to most people that while on paper the dispute is over pensions, a big issue that unites most public sector workers, in reality it is about much more than that. It is a movement against a Government that is dismantling the welfare state, closing and privatising vital services, a movement against unemployment and “austerity”, and a movement against the huge inequality in our society where a small minority are thousands of times richer than everyone else and whose reckless greed brings about global recession.
Locally in Lambeth there is lots going on, but we need your help. Here are 3 things everyone should do before Wednesday
- Know the facts – Read up on some pension stats (see below). “Gold plated” public sector pensions is a myth publicised by a wealthy minority.The average public sector pension is £7,800, which, combined with the state pension would leave these people hovering around the poverty line.
- Talk to friends and family, especially those who work in the public sector – Almost everyone will know someone who might be striking on Wednesday. Teachers, Nurses, Healthcare assistants, Librarians, Job Centre staff, Local government staff, Social workers and many more will work in workplaces that are closed or on strike. Ask them are they in a trade union? Will they be on strike? Why? What will they be doing on the day. We need the strike to be as strong as possible if we want to win the campaign.
- Make a plan for Wednesday. If you are in a union on strike then join with your colleagues and ideally hold a picket line at work. You should do this to encourage other workers to join you – talk to your union rep if unsure of what to do. If you are not in a union but others in your workplace are then avoid going into work by refusing to cross a picket line. Strikers are sacrificing an entire days pay to demand better conditions for everyone. Crossing a picket line is incredibly selfish and against the greater good. If you are not on strike then try to go to a local pick line (details for Lambeth coming very soon here) and show support.
Remember: The longer the picket line, the shorter the strike!
The pensions dispute in numbers
£7,000 — the average (so-called “gold plated”) public sector pension
£24,000 — MPs’ pension
£137 billion— amount by which the 1,000 richest people in Britain increased their wealth from 2009-2011
£157 billion— current budget deficit
£95 billion— size of the cuts proposed over the course of this government
97%— amount of private sector bosses with access to a company-backed pension scheme
33%— amount of private sector workers with access to a scheme
£175,000 — average pension for a boss at one of the country’s 350 richest companies
Some more stats at the guardian