Today has been open season on public sector workers in Scotland.
We had the launch of the CBI Scotland manifesto calling for spending cuts, on everything other than subsidies to CBI members! CBI chair Linda Urquhart has the gall to say that 'Business has responded to the recession and the public sector is now having its own.' The fact is that the private sector caused the bust - and it was actually the public sector which saved the day by bailing the bankers out.
The CBI's call for more outsourcing is another example of their failed economic model being foisted on the public sector. It was deregulated free market economics that caused the banking crash and the subsequent recession. Now they want to apply that failed model on the public sector. They remind me of a gambler who believes that just one more roll of the dice and it will all come good. Problem is - it rarely does.
Then we have the Deputy PM, Nick Clegg, using low paid public sector workers as his latest excuse for abandoning the Lib-Dem election pledges on public spending. His new budget quango didn't produce the right figures, so let's have a go at public sector pensions. Apparently these are 'gold plated'. Really, tell that to the average local government pensioner on a pension of less than £4000 per year.
As Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said today at our annual conference:
“Only a few months ago, Clegg was warning that cutting public spending now would threaten the economic recovery. Now he is saying that public sector workers should pay the price for the banker’s recession, with cuts to their pensions."
The Government should be encouraging people to save for their retirement, not attacking workers who do. If people do not save for their pension, through a decent scheme – they will end up having to rely on taxpayer funded benefits in their retirement.