Truth over strikers

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It obviously has not occurred to Paul Kenny, (Nov 21), but the Conservative Party has a point in opposing tomorrow’s public sector strikes.

For years now, the public sector has enjoyed inflated wages (teachers especially) for very little in return.

Their index-linked inflated pensions are envied for their generosity, paid for effectively by tax payers. Even that former darling of the left, Ken Livingstone, recently admitted that Margaret Thatcher’s politics were, in the main, correct, resurrecting Britain’s futures, formerly the sick man of Europe.

Steve Davies, Totley Rise, S17

With public sector strikes looming, there is the usual outcry about what great pensions and salaries these workers have. May I inform readers of the other side of the coin?

I worked as a civil servant for 20 years, followed by two years in local government before I retired in 2009. A lot of the time I was working under intense pressure to hit daily targets. Failure to do so impacted on my future position and salary.

However, the most I ever earned was a little more than £15,000 a year.

Most of the other employees earned around the same. Many of my younger colleagues were entitled to claim benefits, just like anyone else on low pay (my son is one of them and with nearly 20 years service earns only around £17,000 a year).

Their pay was about half the national average, so it is extremely unfair to say they have comfortable salaries and lifestyles. The big salaries go to relatively few, but because of the way it is reported the public think that all public sector workers earn such salaries.

As for gold-plated pensions, that’s a misnomer too. From the day I joined the civil service I paid into my pension from my salary. I also opted to pay additional voluntary payments to top up my pension. After 20 years, my pension is worth just over £400 a month. Hardly Utopia!

While people might not agree with the strikes, they should at least base their judgement on the conditions for the majority of public servants, not the minority.

SC, Sheffield

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