This is a guest post from two public sector workers taking part in strike action tomorrow
In September of this year I started working as a Learning Support Assistant in an inner-London comprehensive school. More precisely, I started working with 4 students in year 7 who are on the autistic spectrum. I also joined UNISON and so on the 30 November I will be striking. I encourage everyone else in the public sector to do likewise.
Official figures released by the Office for National Statistics last week showed that the pay of the top tenth of earners rocketed 18 times faster than the bottom tenth. At the same time, the UK average income has fallen by 3.5% in real terms. These figures are appearing because the Tories represent the rich and have utter contempt for normal working people. Their attack on pensions is another savage example of this. My pension, unlike George Osborne’s, will not be £33,000 a year. I cannot afford to work for longer, pay more for my pension and subsequently receive less. Like so many others, I am striking because I simply cannot afford not to.
The Con-Dem coalition as well as the majority of the mainstream press have and will continue to attempt to undermine the strike with myths and lies, claiming the strike is unnecessary and that those who are striking are immoral and selfish. But millions of workers across the country have seen through these vicious lies and have voted for strike action.
On November 30 I will be proud to be on strike. I will be proud to be part of the largest strike since the general strike of 1926. I will be proud to march next to teachers, support staff, nurses, civil servants, pensioners, students and private sector workers. I will be proud to be part of the growing resistance to austerity and cuts.
I am a 24 year old youth worker in Hackney, and I am going to be taking strike action for the first time on November 30.
It might seem odd for a 24 year old to be angry about pensions, but this is not an isolated issue. We have been told that providing a decent pension for workers is something that the country cannot afford. There are some things that society cannot afford, but pensions should not be one of them. The High Pay Commission recently released a report that despite the financial crisis executives’ pay packets have remained high and grotesque banker bonuses are still very much the norm. The government say that the public purse has to save, yet they continue to pursue their needless costly ‘restructuring’ proposal for the NHS. And at least £25 billion of tax is dodged by the wealthy every year.
The mainstream media portrays the governments’ ongoing cuts agenda, ‘restructuring’ projects and demonstrations of public anger as isolated stories. But they’re not; they are all part of a bigger picture.
On November 30 over 3 million public sector workers are set to go on strike. We are trying to bring the country to a stand still for one day, a day to highlight the danger posed by this government. Without large scale public resistance, the government will continue its war on public services. We are standing up against the cuts, in defence of our public services, in defence of a good pension for everybody.
Why don’t you come join us? Or at least bring us a cup of tea!