30 November 2011

Lambeth MPs issue statement on todays strike

Lambeth MPs Kate Hoey, Tessa Jowell and Chuka Umunna have issued a statement on today's strike:

"A strike is a sign of failure which results in huge disruption and great inconvenience for all of our constituents which we could not condone. So the government and the trade unions must do all they can to thrash out a deal – this will involve compromise on both sides.

However, we cannot condemn those who faithfully serve our communities for taking industrial action. To do so would be to ignore the fact that the decision to go on strike is not one any of our constituents who work in the public sector take lightly - they feel they have been left with no other option by a government which has imposed a 3% surcharge on thousands of workers and instead of engaging in constructive dialogue, has indulged in irresponsible brinkmanship with minsters taking to the airwaves, ramping up rhetoric and refusing to negotiate.

Ministers are, in effect, imposing a 3% tax rise on thousands of public sector workers who are approaching retirement, including many who work part time such as dinner ladies and nursing assistants – the monies raised by the 3% extra contribution demanded of them are not going into the various public sector pension funds but are going straight to the Treasury.

This has nothing to do with the long-term sustainability of public sector pensions.

Public sector pensions need to be reformed which is why, in government, Labour negotiated a deal under which the cost of public sector pensions was not allowed to become unsustainable. But this government acts as though it is happy to see a disruptive strike, rather than working flat out and leaving no stone unturned to reach an agreement."