Unions back pension fight

PCS Union representatives, Branch Chairman Duncan Griffiths
PCS Union representatives, Branch Chairman Duncan Griffiths
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FYLDE coast civil servants have backed a legal challenge which has been launched to fight cuts to their pensions.

An appeal hearing has started at the Royal Courts of Justice challenging the Government’s switch to use the consumer price index (CPI) instead of the normally faster-rising retail price index (RPI) when measuring price increases influencing pension upgrades.

The Government claims CPI is more appropriate. But unions have always contended the change would cost the average worker £15,000 over the course of their pension.

The move was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in June 2010 budget, without consultation or negotiation.

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Duncan Griffiths, representing government workers at Norbreck and Warbreck for the PCS Union, said: “The switch is an example of how this Government wants public servants, pensioners and people entitled to benefits to pay the heaviest price for the recession.

“For new entrants to the civil service it means an immediate cut in their pensions, ripping up an agreement we reached just a few years ago. It is estimated that the change will cost public sector workers about £15,000 over an average retirement.

“We refuse to accept civil servants, nurses, teachers and council workers should be bullied into paying more and working longer for less, just to pay off debts racked up by greedy bankers who are still pocketing their bonuses.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “The reforms will save the taxpayer billions of pounds and significantly improve the long-term fiscal sustainability of this country.”

But Mr Griffiths said there were other ways to save. He added: “Cut pension tax relief for higher rate taxpayers, scrap the Trident missile system and tax the rich – 50 per cent rate on earnings over £150,000 a year would raise an additional £1.8bn.”

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