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We're in a spot of bother, aren't we?
The world economy is faltering... a global slowdown is predicted, Europe is struggling with a sovereign debt crisis, there are real fears that Greece will default on its debt... US retail sales have stagnated and the country's debt has been downgraded... Italy's borrowing costs have hit a new high...
New figures reveal that UK unemployment has hit 2.51 million - rising by 80,000 in the three months to July - the largest increase in nearly two years... the Consumer Price Index inflation rate rose to 4.5% in August (bad I know, but not as bad as the 8.78% that India is having to deal with) and London tube and bus fares are set to rise by 7% in 2012...
Now the UK's public sector trade unions have called for a 'day of action' for 30th November, which will disrupt public services everywhere. It is likely to be the first of many.
Yes - the Government's decision to increase public sector workers' pension contribution payments is going to make life difficult for those concerned, who will work for longer but receive lower pensions. But public sector pensions are far better than most in the private sector and we need a system that is fair to all taxpayers. There isn't enough money to sustain these pensions as they are and with our ageing population the affordability will only lessen. Something has to be done to stop everything going further out of kilter.
Our country's struggling but this union action will bring it to its knees. We should all pull together to turn things around - not scrap amongst ourselves. Yes things are difficult, but those of us who have jobs and the opportunity to earn money are the lucky ones... far luckier than the unemployed and many of those who are now in retirement following years working in the private sector, whose pensions force them to choose between heating their houses and having a hot meal.
The unions are demanding justice, but I wonder how their members and the jobs they have at present will fare, if companies that are already on the brink end up folding because their staff are prevented from working because of the strikes?
The GMB's Brian Strutton, has threatened: "We're not talking about a day out and a protest. We're talking about something that's long and hard and dirty, because this is going to require days of action running through the winter, through into next year...right into the summer."
Proposing a motion backing mass strikes to the Trades Union Congress conference recently, Unison leader Dave Prentis said: "It's the fight of our lives... make no mistake, this is it."
Yes it is, but I don't think Mr Prentis has stopped to think about the impact this fight will have on our nation's ability to pull itself out of the mire in which it finds itself.
15th September 2011