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General Chat Thread, Unison and other Unions Strike 30/11/2011 in General; The rift is caused by a multitude of things, including, and especially in these instances, the government. It is the ...
  1. #241


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    The rift is caused by a multitude of things, including, and especially in these instances, the government.

    It is the OPINION of individuals as to where you stand within, or on which side of that rift, but it is still the government who caused the distinction in the first place.

    I haven't decided that there's a distinction between unemployed or employed, union or not, someone else has made that divide. But it's MY CHOICE as to which side of it I stand, or wheither I look on from the sidelines wondering what all the fuss is about.

    Fence sitting is all well and good, but sometimes you need to build struts, maybe a little terrace, patio and the odd secret tunnel from your advantageous perspective to either side to get the full picture of what's going on.

  2. #242

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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold View Post
    The very scale of the problems faced and changes proposed will create rifts as people feel they will be hard done by. Unfortunately there are still lots of people who only ever think "what should I get?" For me personally I fell it is not a case of "what should I get" but "what is fair?".
    I do agree with your points, but as the quoted part states, people will feel hard done by. Again, you have the choice to think "its them vs me" or think "i dont like whats happening but can understand why".
    100% agree about the thought being more "is it fair" than personal gain

  3. #243

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rydra View Post
    The rift is caused by a multitude of things, including, and especially in these instances, the government.

    It is the OPINION of individuals as to where you stand within, or on which side of that rift, but it is still the government who caused the distinction in the first place.

    I haven't decided that there's a distinction between unemployed or employed, union or not, someone else has made that divide. But it's MY CHOICE as to which side of it I stand, or wheither I look on from the sidelines wondering what all the fuss is about.

    Fence sitting is all well and good, but sometimes you need to build struts, maybe a little terrace, patio and the odd secret tunnel from your advantageous perspective to either side to get the full picture of what's going on.
    But by your argument, there is a rift between union or not when all there really is is a difference. You are in union X, I am not. There is no rift between us created by anybody other than one or both of us believing there is a rift.
    By their very definition there must be a distinction between the two, otherwise how do you know who is/isn't in a union or employed or whatever? You have to define what it is to be unemployed (for example not having a job) so people can differentiate. There is nothing saying "now you know what unemployed means, hate them, they are the problem".

    I also don't see how I am fence sitting. I've already stated I work in private so have no pension, i am not in a union either. So by your definition there are two rifts between myself and you. I don't see them however, but you obviously see a rift between yourself and others because the government have created them.

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    The gov have decided that my pension is not good, and decided something must be done about it.
    They have not done anything about yours, and have in fact marked your pension options as a reason for doing something about mine. Is your pension situation to your satisfaction? Are they fighting to fix your pension?

    Wheither I decide to side with them, against them or stand by and ignore the whole thing is my option, and how you decide to deal with it is also your choice.

    If it was simply a case of labelling that would be one thing, but to actively point out the difference, and act upon changes to one side, while referencing the other as a reason, is creating a distinction which people must make an opinion of.

    The government are stating unemployment is bad, being employed is good. Yet they are causing more unemployment than any other group or industry at the moment, because it cuts costs for them. They are using the statement to force opinions onto people, that you don't want to lose your job, do you? because being unemployed is BAD... And you over there, you WANT to be employed don't you?

    Fence sitting was aimed at anyone and noone, in that it's a nice place to be, especially when it comes to political discussion, but it's best if you can get some different perspectives from time to time, so you can be sure that your fence is the best fence to be sitting on!

  5. #245


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    Head teachers vote for strike action over pensions

    Some 24,000 members were balloted and turnout was 53.6%, with 75.8% in favour of strike action, the NAHT said.

    It is the first time the NAHT has voted in favour of such action in its 114-year history.
    BBC News - Head teachers vote for strike action over pensions

  6. #246

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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold View Post
    I would think that most people on here are intelligent and the very nature of our job encourages us to think of both sides in a logical pragmatic manner.
    I consider that to be optimistic.

    This means that we can think and evaluate most problems from different angles to come to a solution which is appropriate. I can pretty much gaurentee that whatever happens no one on here will hold @localzuk(sorry but carrying on using you as an example )respsonsible for whatever happens. However, you cannot say that it is soley down to me as an individual to decide if a rift will occur. You cannot say that there is no influence from the government or the media into how people should think. If I went out into the streets telling people that we should accept the changes to pensions not many would listen. If the newspapers say it you know people will listen and take it as accurate whether they are right or not.
    Newspapers are a minority interest nowadays. It's TV that is the opinion former, not the newspapers.

    The very scale of the problems faced and changes proposed will create rifts as people feel they will be hard done by. Unfortunately there are still lots of people who only ever think "what should I get?" For me personally I fell it is not a case of "what should I get" but "what is fair?".
    I agree entirely. "What is fair" is exactly the question. Is it 'fair' that I should pay extra tax for public sector workers when I can't afford to save for a pension of my own?

    The problem with 'fairness' is that it is not quantifiable. That's why 'the left' (what want of a better term) love words like 'fair' so much, because it can mean whatever they want it to mean. It's like 'social justice'. That means whatever you want it to mean, and for most 'left' people, it means taking from richer people and giving to poorer people.

  7. #247

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    Joined this conversation late but I am in a union, GMB, and I have voted not to strike, but if the result is to strike then I will.

    I joined a union for my protection, legal, monetary and terms and conditions. I also joined a union for the fact they should act in my best interests.

    One thing that I think you have overlooked is that they are planning to change Local Government Pensions, Teacher Pensions and Public Sector Pensions. 3 different defined benefit schemes.

    Some of you may recall that Local Government Pensions were overhauled a few years ago and the changes they made to them ensure that the scheme is fully funded. Every few years the employers contribution rate is changed to keep the books balance and with employees the more you earn the bigger the % gets too. So LGPS schemes are not a burden on central government nor should any deficit sit on central government balance sheets. Ultimately should the LGPS scheme fail, which is highly doubtful, then the government does have a legal obligation to back the scheme. Have you read your recent pension fund update? The one I am in shows a cash surplus as I suspect most LGPS schemes do.

    On the other hand we have Teacher Pension, Public Sector and MP pension schemes, the later of which is currently not being looked at being changed, although they have said it should be. These 3 schemes are completely backed by government and shortfalls have to be met by government. There has been no recent overhaul, there is no review of employer contributions and these are the schemes that require looking at.

    Public Sector employees who receive an annual cost of living increase did so because of union negotiations. Local Government employes did not receive a cost of living increase this April and probably will not next April, despite the current rate of inflation. Private sector wage increases this year were way above that of the public sector. The gap between equivalent workers in the public and private sectors based on hourly pay is around 30% something which a pension seeks to even out.

    Next year benefits will rise by over 5% yet public sector employees are likely to see a nil rise, despite likely still having high inflation and low interest rates. Given that the majority of employees in Local Government are part time women the average pay and the average pension is actually quite low.

    Where is the fairness in any of this?

  8. 7 Thanks to jayemm:

    ButterflyMoon (16th November 2011), CyberNerd (15th November 2011), Earthling (15th November 2011), eduabncs (17th November 2011), laserblazer (15th November 2011), stevenlong1985 (15th November 2011), SteveT (15th November 2011)

  9. #248

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayemm View Post
    Joined this conversation late but I am in a union, GMB, and I have voted not to strike, but if the result is to strike then I will.

    I joined a union for my protection, legal, monetary and terms and conditions. I also joined a union for the fact they should act in my best interests.

    One thing that I think you have overlooked is that they are planning to change Local Government Pensions, Teacher Pensions and Public Sector Pensions. 3 different defined benefit schemes.

    Some of you may recall that Local Government Pensions were overhauled a few years ago and the changes they made to them ensure that the scheme is fully funded. Every few years the employers contribution rate is changed to keep the books balance and with employees the more you earn the bigger the % gets too. So LGPS schemes are not a burden on central government nor should any deficit sit on central government balance sheets. Ultimately should the LGPS scheme fail, which is highly doubtful, then the government does have a legal obligation to back the scheme. Have you read your recent pension fund update? The one I am in shows a cash surplus as I suspect most LGPS schemes do.
    The pension fund is, temporarily, showing a surplus. However, the propaganda put out by Unison does not admit that there is a shortfall in funding. Tomorrow's shortfall is being funded by today's contributions. That is the definition of a Ponzi scheme.

    You can read the Audit Commission's assessment of the LGPS here:
    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct...l20_xg&cad=rja

    It states:

    "The LGPS has funds to cover three quarters of its liabilities....But the current approach cannot continue indefinitely because unfunded liabilities are being deferred in to the future, to make the scheme more affordable to employers in the short term."
    (Bolding mine, see page 3 of the PDF).

    Unison's propaganda is just that. There is a shortfall and it must be addressed.

    Public Sector employees who receive an annual cost of living increase did so because of union negotiations.
    So they have had pay rises. Lucky them.

    Local Government employes did not receive a cost of living increase this April and probably will not next April, despite the current rate of inflation. Private sector wage increases this year were way above that of the public sector.
    3%, apparently, in the private sector, which is below the rate of inflation. 0% in the public sector. However, private sector wages have been largely stagnant since 2006 while the public sector continued to take home pay rises.

    The gap between equivalent workers in the public and private sectors based on hourly pay is around 30% something which a pension seeks to even out.
    The ONS' annual survey of hours and earnings shows the real figures, though, not the union propaganda ones. Public sector earnings outstrip the private sector by 8% - see Guardian article here which admits the truth through gritted teeth:

    Public-private pay gap widest in 10 years | Business | The Guardian

    Where is the fairness in any of this?
    Good question. Perhaps you would like to tell us when it became 'fair' for me, in the private sector, to pay the shortfall in your pension, given that the public sector earns more on average?

  10. #249
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    I've signed up and been with Unison for the last couple of months. I objected to the strike action and voted no, but, since it's now going ahead with a favourable yes, would I have to join my fellow picketeers and join in with the strikes or can I continue working on the day?

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    You don't have to strike (some Unions force you to or you can't be a memeber Unison won't).

    And before people differentiate to much with the two sectors, lets remember EVERYONE pays tax, not just the private sector. So any shortfall is made up from everyones contributions, not from a smaller proportion.

    No matter what people have different opinions, each fact can be countered by other facts, for every article saying one thing, there is a counter article claiming another. The fact private and public pension schemes yo yo from in deficit to in surplus on the stock markets is stupid in itself.

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  13. #251


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    Quote Originally Posted by Flatpackhamster View Post
    I consider that to be optimistic.



    Newspapers are a minority interest nowadays. It's TV that is the opinion former, not the newspapers.
    <SNIP>
    Obvisouly I was being optimistic. You should have understood the point I was making without picking up on the fact I said newspaper and not TV. In your opinion it is not "fair" for you to pay extra tax to pay for "my pension" but fail to acknowledge the fact that EVERYONE pays tax not just the public sector.

    But I'm not going to be drawn into a debate about what is fair and what isn't as you have already pointed out, different people take it to mean different things.

  14. #252

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    Depending on how people wanted to view this, you can take having a pension scheme from your employer as part of your contracted terms. If anyone wants to change those terms there are rules and regs about how and why, it gets negotiated and the idea is to come up with an option which meets 2 things ... that the employer is still viable (there needs to be the proof that they would not be if changes were not made) and that the employee is being treated fairly, including not being bullied, threatened with the safety of their job (in comparison with others who make ready agreement to changes), that they are not forced out of their job due to financial difficulties ... and so on.

    The problem with the above is that the pension is underwritten by the Govt, and unlikely to fail unless the Govt fails. Both sides are putting their preferred spin on it and ave stats to prove their point (even using the same stats to prove different points IIRC from one Newsnight session the other week). It is ultimately about compromise and keeping promises. There *will* be some compromise ... but the lack of promises means that there is little trust on either side. The new offering is not too bad ... it hits some staff harder than others but that could be stomached by most if only we believed that this was not just being shoe-horned in along with other money saving solutions because people can almost get away with it right now with limited challenge.

    If we believe that should the Govt promise not to change the affecting age for those close to retirement then that is a massive compromise (one that I think is unfair on age equality grounds ... but I am a youngster compared to some here) but those who are left to pick up the pieces ... how do we know it won't have to be made even harsher for us?

    As for year on year pay rises? I've had increments due to going up the scale. That is gone anyway so no point bringing that up again and again ... and as for the public / private comparison ... they rarely include those people working in the public sector but employed by private companies. They are also public sector workers ... just not employed directly by public bodies. It is a statistical swizz to ignore those in the stats ... which so many do.

  15. #253
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    GMB's ballot results are out - BBC News - GMB members vote to join pension strike with Unite's results expected later today.

    Can we change the thread title now please?

  16. #254

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBentley View Post
    GMB's ballot results are out - BBC News - GMB members vote to join pension strike with Unite's results expected later today.

    Can we change the thread title now please?
    Your wish is my command...

  17. #255
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