Conference, also speaking as a member of the Community Service Group I think it is important to remember that it is not only it not only those in Health and Local government who face a bleak future in retirement. There are hundreds of thousands of workers who now work in the private and voluntary sector who depend and rely on public sector pensions for their future. In my own employer we have around 500 staff who like me, are still members of the local government pension scheme.
My members, like those in the traditional public sector, cannot afford a 50% hike in pension contributions. They have also suffered from years of no pay rises. Many who work in care and support have also seen their pay savagely cut due to the race to the gutter in Supporting People commissioning. They will be forced to leave the pension scheme.
So, in the Community Service Group we also face being robbed of our pensions. That is why, for the first time ever for many in my sector we are organising for strike action. However, delivering sustained and successful strike action is not going to be easy in any sector. That is why it is even more important than ever that our union keeps up the pressure on the government while working with our sister unions to organise effective campaigns, inform our members of the facts and carefully build for action. Caroline previously called it SMART
We have to recognise that our pension arrangements are different and sector specific. While we all face a common threat, we must make it clear to our members the exact reasons why we are calling for strike action and what we expect that particular action to achieve. Conference, the prize for us if this is successful will be worth it. Solid and committed strike action by everyone in UNISON. Conference please support this composite.
(Photo Phil Lewis)