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Public sector workers 'prefer pay cut to pension loss'


A survey of 1,000 employees working in public sector organisations found they were “desperately” holding onto their pension packages in the face of planned changes announced by the government.

Teachers and civil servants have taken strike action over the reforms and unions continue to threaten further disruption later in the year if the row is not resolved.

Recruitment firm Badenoch & Clark said its study showed a majority of public sector workers believed their pensions were worth striking over.

Around a third of those questioned said they believed they should be paid more, arguing that wages in the public sector should be the same as in private firms.

Morale was said to be low, with three out of four describing the mood among public sector workers as “average to low”.

Nicola Linkleter, managing director of Badenoch & Clark, said: “The public sector remains in a state of crisis. With morale low, further cuts looming, and pension contributions set to rise exponentially, managers must continue to ensure that workers understand the future direction and opportunities within the sector. The need for careful, grassroots change management is absolute.

“Leaders must now reassert the public sector brand more than ever before. Workers will remain loyal to their employer so long as they perceive that they employer is committed to its workforce.

“This commitment must include clarity on pension reform. Lack of transparency will further damage morale, and could lead to further strikes.”

Brian Strutton, national officer of the GMB union, said: “No amount of spin will convince GMB members in the NHS, whose pension scheme already sends £2bn a year to the Treasury in surplus contributions, that it is fair that they are forced to hand over a further £500m from April 2012 while the pensions they are saving for are being cut at every turn.”


Readers' comments (38)

  • Woah woah woah!!!! I wish NT would stop with these lazy headlines!!!

    Just because pensions finally got people off their arses to strike, that does not mean we would prefer or even accept a pay cut either!!

    We are woefully underpaid as it is, barely enough to make all the stress, responsibility, accountability, etc etc etc worth it, and if they want to cut that any further they may just have a bloody riot on their hands!!!

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  • Absolutely right, Mike. I do not want, nor can I afford a pay freeze. To be honest, I think the NHS pension scheme must be on the verge of going bust, there’s obviously a huge ‘black hole’ or something. I’ve been expecting to read about it in the papers for the last ten years or so. I think unless you’re lucky enough to be able to retire in the next five years or so you’ve got no chance of seeing your money again or getting anywhere near a decent pension that you can actually live on.

    The whole purpose of articles like this is to try and get us in the mindset of thinking: if I take the hit now, my pension will be safe. I’ve got news for you, your pension isn’t safe. The reality is the vast majority of us wont be working for the NHS as we know it. We’ll all have been sold off to private companies - like what has happened to my colleagues and me - and your pension pot will be sat idle until you reach age 65 or more likely 85!!!

    We need to say NO to pay and increment freezes, NO to increased pension contributions and we need to be kicking off about the money wasted on failed IT projects, payouts to consulting firms etc! Our unions need to start actually working for their subs and put our views across to the government.

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  • Hey I struggle to Nurse clinically at 50!
    Its a young persons profession, cant see me being Physically or Mentally able to Nurse at 68
    What keeps me going is the thought I might be able to finish at 60.
    Apparently the current NHS scheme is in surpus and will continue to be, if we all keep in the scheme, so what is all the fuss about.
    We have not yet finished the last 3 yr pension review.
    Please let do one step at a time!

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  • if i am not mistaken, it was better before when older nurses had the choice of climbing up the ladder into admin posts (numbers 1 to 10 or something similar) or could work in the clinics which had regular hours. alas the goal posts have moved and are still moving and will soon be right off the field!

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  • Hang on a minute, we've had a pay cut. In fact not one, but two pay cuts. Has anyone noticed? The two year pay freeze is a real terms pay cut. We have already done our bit.

    And with inflation running at just below 5% that's almost 10% of a pay cut. I now want a pay rise to restore what I was earning before the pay cut - ie a 10% pay rise. But don't worry, I'll do my bit for the public finances and won't ask to be paid the money I've lost over the 2 years.

    Will I strike over my 'gold plated' pension? You bet.
    Will I strike over my pay cut/freeze?
    You bet.

    It's coming: the unelected gvt will not change their position, let's get on with balloting the members.

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  • from my simplistic understanding of economics, the more you earn the more you spend, and the more you spend the more you boost and support the economy. if you replace 'more' with 'less' you can no longer support the economy and if you multiply the figures by the number of nurses and others who are so poorly paid in the UK the figures show a fall in income which causes a falling economy.

    even if all the big guys with big bonuses get big pay cheques and increase output it will not increase the economy unless everybody else gets bigger cheques to pay for the increased goods and services! but it could be that if you give them big cheques and the increase output they may simply increase exports and the revenue from this may simply go straight into the government's coffers and into their own pockets!

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  • Well for a start, finding that the majority of public service workers would prefer a pay cut to pension loss based on a survey of just 1000 people is deeply flawed. Secondly, why should we agree to any sort of cut when we have been cut big time already. The 2year pay freeze was damaging enough, especially with inflation running so high; what we actually earn now is reducing all the time.

    I agree with Mike on all his points. But when are we actually going to do something positive? While we all sit here waiting to see what happens, the government and the trusts are thinking up new ways to shaft us. When are we going to give them a big shock, a big FAT NO to all their threats. The time to talk, negotiate is over, we need to seriously kick their backsides NOW!!!

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  • "Public sector workers 'prefer pay cut to pension loss'"

    I don't want either thanks very much.

    I want my Terms and Conditions and Pension honoured in full. And, in the words of the great Freddie Mercury, "I want it now!"

    I'm sick of this!

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  • We already have a pay cut what with frozen pay increased tax ect..... no thanks

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  • come on strike! strike! strike! stop pussy footing about i want it now
    this is only going to line other peoples pockets?

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