Tuesday, 6 December 2011


I have two daughters, one working in the private sector and one in the public sector as a teacher.
The eldest, the teacher is good at her job I'm told but has the usual long holidays, job security and a good pension.
She was on strike today over pension entitlements even though she voted against striking, the school was closed.
The younger daughter works in private industry and although she has a good job it is not as well paid as her older sister.
She has been made redundant three times and now works for a German firm and if she is absent from work too much would be sacked. In the snow last year she walked 5 miles to work while the teacher daughter stayed at home because the school was closed, but got no thanks for it. In spite of her hard work her job is not secure especially in a financial downturn.
In other words one daughter has little job security, poor holiday entitlement and the prospect of a lower pension than the one who is a teacher. She also has to pay in her taxes to subsidise the teacher daughter (25% of council taxes go to pay for public service pensions) even though she is paid less than the teacher.
She also had to make arrangements for her children owing to the strike.
I have to admit the daughter who is a teacher is very against the strike but as the school is closed is obliged to be off.
The strikers are hitting people with poorer work and pension conditions than they have themselves in itself unfair.
So why the public sector strikes?
Because the workers in that sector will have to pay more than formerly agreed for their index linked pensions and work longer before they receive them. It is a worse deal than they had before and I can understand that they do not like this, but those pensions are heavily subsidised by the state, in other words NOW they get much more than they paid in.
I am all for a decent standard of living for pensioners but these public pensions are unaffordable and this largess of public money can not go on.I know the workers contribute a great deal of money to them but they get back far more.
The fact is there is not enough money to pay for the public service pensions, so whatever the unions say eventually when the money really does run out and the government can borrow no more the promise to pay these index linked pensions will be renaged on.
The whole pension system private and public is a giant Ponzi scheme. Pensions paid out now are paid out of present contributions.
Many people think that when they contribute to these schemes there is a big "pot of gold" waiting for them when they retire. There is no such pot. The money is not there but this fact has been disguised until now.
The workers in the public service are in effect paying a tax to the Chancellor to subsidise present pensions and for anybody younger than fifty there is no hope of a return on their money. Their contributions do not go in to their pension pots.
Private pension schemes are as bad with the pension advisors making more money out of contributions than the owners of those schemes, sometimes as much as 30%.
It supports a big industry in the City of London and is just a big con.
I believe young people should save themselves for their pensions with the money they would have otherwise paid into these schemes.
I realise that older public sector people such as me have benefitted by these schemes in the past but the glory days of big pensions are over and there is no hope of them continuing.
However the government should talk to the unions and lead by example.
We are all in it together they say.
Well they should take a pension cut as should anybody receiving a high public sector pension, judges, headmasters, senior policemen and doctors etc as the present system can not carry on.
I realise that there are many other things the government should do to curb expenditure, bankers bonuses, foreign aid etc but these are other matters.
The fact is
THE PRESENT SCHEME IS UNAFFORDABLE and striking will not improve matters.
Far better to opt out and save yourself rather than subsidising the exchequer or private funds.
The country is broke and you will never get your money back.

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