Thursday, 30 June 2011

Public Sector Pensions

It's a perk!
I don't work in the public sector and therefore don't pay into a public sector pension - strike that – I do pay into public sector pensions through my taxes.  My taxes provide revenue for public sector pensions.

I don't pay into a private pension – can't afford it, too many outgoings that can't be skimped on to enable me to make financial provision for my dotage.  I work to support my worst half who retired through ill-health in his late forties, I work to pay my mortgage that has almost quadrupled as I had to remortgage due to a predicted red light shortfall, I work to pay for food in my belly and pay utilities.  I also work because I love it.

I am not unhappy with my life as it is rich in many others ways, a sons wedding quite soon, a first holiday in almost twelve years on the near horizon, good friends, lovely job and so on – my life is rich.

Those that exist outside the five million in the public sector have seen the forecast value of their pension reduce – if they have one –  many don't, know they have to work longer before retirement as, as we live longer the available pension pot is much smaller, accept that they probably wont have a pay rise for some time to come, tighten their belts and so on.  Some have found they have been made redundant as business fails across the board.

So it sort of peeves me that those in the public sector see themselves as a special case, excluded from the flack of recession and excluded from the reality that recession or not, the retirement age must increase as funding in its present form is unsustainable.   I can understand why they might be peeved in that they are now expected to contribute more into their pension that will be worth less after having to work longer for it.  It is probable that if I worked in the public sector I too would be experiencing their angst.

Presently civil servants contribute a maximum of 3.5% towards their pension, teachers 6.4% and I as a taxpayer contribute 19% towards the public sector pension pot.  This works out at approx. £1000 per household and forgive me public sector worker – do you not think this is a bit unfair?  If I can't afford to contribute towards a private pension for myself – why should I contribute towards yours?

Public sector employers will argue that they are tax payers too – and indeed they are – but they receive some of their taxes back in the form of their specific pensions.

That's really all folks – just my personal feelings.  I do not intend to get involved in the politics of politics, IMF, Iceland, Greece, bailouts, collapsing economies, deficit reduction, unions, strikes, government raids on pension funds, protected benefits of union bosses and politicians – just the mention is self explanatory.

C'mon public sector workers – see the light and stop being so selfish.  This is one big society no-one can exclude themselves from.  We are all in the same boat whether we like it or not.

Anna :o]

PS  Please take a trip to Sams and The Cockroach Catchers place re reality checks.
PSS Just read, so just added - Dr Zorro


Cockroach Catcher said...

Is democracy and the right to strike related?

There was an old Chinese saying: government officials can burn a whole forest and ordinary citizens are not allowed to light candles.

When you have BBC handing out big money to the top guys, PCTs and Local Authorities CEOs being paid big salaries regardless / or that they might go and work for the banks (that eventually failed) and MEPs and MPs claiming left right and centre, the case for negotiation seemed as unreal as reining in the ruling class.

There is so much pretending in government: pretend listen, pretend change and pretend not selling off of woodlands.

Then the bribes come in: you can shoot the burglar and you can have shares in RBS. How many of us were born yesterday!!!

Watch what they are doing to the NHS: pretend, pretend and more pretend.

But we do not need to strike!!! Will the BMA do the negotiating despite a clear vote? Will the government listen?

Just some quick views.

Linda said...

What bothers me, and I know this from experience, is the public sector has workers who are redundant workers; I do what they do so we can both take 2 hour lunch breaks and leave early and get OT when we feel like it and hire our friends, or better yet, our families. And even better, none of us need be smart, or educated, or nice to the public. Who needs them anyways. We have unions.
What's worse are the university workers, especially in California. We really don't need no education to work here and it helps to have a felony or two.
And yelp, I'm a liberal, but cannot get behind this folly. I worked for too many California colleges.

Dave King said...

I am fortunate enough to have a public Sector (Teachers) Pension, but I can find nothing in your post with which to disagree. My daughter is in the public sector, but my son and grandsons are not, so the issue presents itself to me from both sides, and to be fair, it is totally UNfair. It stinks!

Isabel Doyle said...

sadly it is universal to think: me, me, me! and not give a toss for anybody else, or the wider or longer view ...

your lack of personal pension provision is a bit worrying all the same.

Bill said...

I work in both sectors. Funnily enough, I get paid nearly twice as much in the private sector. It's often a mistake to assume that public sector workers are better off. And even where they are, I think their working conditions are ones others can aspire to.

I work hard. I love my job (and also, incidentally, support a disabled wife who can't work). I'm in a Trade Union: not because I think of "me me me" (as you previous commenter put it - I always get riled when people assume trade unionists are selfish) but because I don't see why anyone should accept inferior working conditions to those I enjoy. You have a right to a decent pension, just like I do: but please, if you can't afford one, blame those who pay you, not those who can afford one.

Surely -public or private- it would be better if we all aspired upwards to decent working conditions and pensions, rather than downwards to lower pay and poorer conditions.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for you comments folks.

CC ~ totally agree. This government as governments before them are all about pretence. The pretence of listening, the pretence of acting on the thoughts of the electorate – forests and NHS come to mind – when in reality they are just pressing ahead with their original plans in a slightly disguised form.

Just been watching a breakfast programme which highlighted DLA reforms and the disabled - another pretence of listening. Is the threat of legal action premature – possibly not?

As to the BMA – hopefully they will see sense and not commit to strike action – we are all in the same boat. What is already in the pension pot is protected.

Unfortunately as you state - our lords and masters, whether in business or government, like the feel of money and it is a case of do as I say and not as I do – very poor role modelling.

Linda ~ perhaps a little different in the public sector here – social workers I know are run into the ground and work many hours for ‘free’ as do nurses and probably others I am not aware of. As to nepotism – probably not but I could be wrong.

Dave ~ thanks for your honesty and (it) is unfair and does stink!

Isabel ~ there is truth in your statement re me, me, me – but not all of us I think.

Pension provision – don’t worry about it as worrying wont change anything. Unfortunately by birth date I fall outside the new proposed ‘one pension fits all’ so will have the little one. However when nearing my pension date, it is my intention to fight in the courts – but that is some years away.

Bill ~ I work in the private sector and do indeed earn more than nurses who work in the NHS – but without the ‘benefits’ associated with the public sector, that is sick pay and of course pensions.

My employers – who are indeed very generous and fair have a stakeholder pension in place – but I can’t afford to contribute towards it for the reasons stated. If I worked in the NHS, pension contributions would be deducted as a matter of course and it would be a case of what I never had – I never missed as in these contributions.

I do not believe I am attaching ‘blame’ for my situation on those in the public sector who will receive a pension and also realise that for some this pension will be a tiny amount – what irks me is that some in the public sector see themselves as a special case to be excluded from the real world.

Overspending in the public sector is one of the many reasons for Greece’s downfall.

Anna :o]

Anonymous said...

So, what you are saying is NHS nurses who pay over 6% of their salary into a pension fund can afford their life style as opposed to you who earns more than them, don't pay 6% but can't afford the same as them? Is that right......?

Something wrong with your arithmetic or logic here.

Oh, and what everyone conveniently forgets is that as pensioners we are not eligible for benefits and we still pay tax.

Sorry Anna, but you, and everyone else who carps on about public sector pensions is following the politics of envy. Notice that the government has stopped saying that it is unaffordable and are now going on about 'fairness'. 'Fairness?' from a Tory government?? A government which by the way has still kept it's pensions intact for MP's.

No, I don't mind working a bit longer, hell I even don't mind too much paying slightly more in but I object strongly that after 30+ years I will get less than I was promised.


HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for your comment GrumpyRN

“So, what you are saying is NHS nurses who pay over 6% of their salary into a pension fund can afford their life style as opposed to you who earns more then them, don’t pay 6% but can’t afford the same as them. Is that right….?

Something wrong with your arithmetic or logic here.”

No GrumpyRN I am not saying that my friend – you are. I earn more than you as I am paid for breaks which based on a ‘salary’ of £30,000, runs to a grand total of £353.60pa. It is probable that to earn the same amount as an NHS nurse on this salary – I work 20% more hour’s p.w. So although I appear to earn more – in real terms I actually earn less. My wage is based on hours worked, not rate per annum.

As I do not receive sickness benefit nor pension – it is essential that I have a Sickness & Accident Benefit Insurance Policy in place which costs me £I,440 pa which rises yearly to match inflation. If I were to take out a private pension to gain the equivalent payout to a public sector pension this would cost me anywhere from £4,500 - £12,000 pa as opposed to £1,800 at 6%. I cannot afford this pension.

This aside, I did at no time state that a NHS nurse lived in a financial bed of roses – but at least this nurse will have a pension in place.

Those in the private sector who are lucky enough to be able to contribute to a pension scheme have already seen the value of their pension fall; final salary schemes are virtually non-existent and so on. Where were the unions then?

“… … as pensioners we are not eligible for benefits and we still pay tax.”

I do realise that perhaps a half of those who receive a public sector pension receive on average £5,600pa. My mum was one of these people, however she did receive benefits. I would be interested to know which benefits ‘you’ are unable tor receive for despite trawling the DWP have not come up with anything despite entering obvious keywords. Perhaps you can direct me here?

“Sorry Anna, but you, and everyone who carps on about the public sector pensions is following the politics of envy.”

I am dismayed that you have taken this stance GrumpyRN as it appears that you have decided that I do not have a right to an opinion – for if I do, it is not about a question of fair play – it is an expression of envy. So the question needs to be asked – do you have something – a public pension perhaps – that I should be envious of? And why do you think I should be envious of it?


Anna :o]

Anonymous said...

It was you who stated you earn more than NHS nurses, now you don't. Which is it?

Let me make myself clear, I don't care about your sickness benefits or lack of them. You knew all this when you took on the job, it was in your terms and conditions of employment. You cannot now complain about something that you agreed to.

Private sector used to have some very good pension schemes but they were closed - why? Because the private sector insists on profit and used shares to boost the schemes and took a hammering over the years. So poor pensions management means poor pensions. Not the public sectors fault.

Can only assume that your mum had little or no pension entitlements in her own right, ie paid the small stamp, I can't help, try citizens advice.

Of course you are entitled to your opinion as I am entitled to mine. Your post complained about public sector not living in the real world and expecting 'you' to pay for our pensions, 19% you said. This is wrong as the public sector pensions are NOT unaffordable as the government have said.
So we come to 'fairness'. What is fair about the country calling me lazy, greedy and self centred? Why is it unfair for me to try to protect myself and my family into retirement. What is fair about not getting what I have been promised?

You have asked if I have something for you to be envious about, but fairly obviously you think I do as your whole post demonstrated.
I quote, "So it sort of peeves me that those in the public sector see themselves as a special case".
I will have an NHS pension when I retire but you think I should not get as much as I was promised or entitled to for some vague and frankly wrong reasoning about 'fairness' and 'cost'.


HyperCRYPTICal said...

Hello again Grumpy RN

I would reiterate that at no time did I state that NHS nurses “…who pay over 6% of their salary into a pension fund can afford their lifestyle … ….” - They were your words – not mine.

The fact that I discovered after researching, following your comment, that I indeed work more hours to earn my ‘pay’ does not alter the fact that my annual pay is more prior to deductions.

I am not ‘complaining’ – again, your word, not mine – about my lack of sickness benefit - merely making you aware that I have (unavoidable) outgoings too. You have made it quite clear that you don’t care. Why the aggression?

The private sector did indeed have some good pension schemes – but these were rendered unaffordable due to successive raids by the then Labour government – not bad investments. So I agree it is not the public sectors fault, but would ask did I ever imply that it was?

The help I ‘asked’ for re pensioners receiving public sector pensions related to your statement that you would not be entitled to benefits despite still paying tax. My request remains – which benefits will you not be entitled to?

The fact remains that the taxpayer contributes 19% to the public-sector pension pot. If the same applied to the private pension pot – then it would be fair. Why does this fact annoy you and you feel I am not allowed to point it out?

“What is fair about the country calling me lazy, greedy and self-centred?” I don’t know – but when did the ‘country’ do this? There is nothing wrong in you trying to provide yourself and your family into neither retirement nor indeed being aggrieved that you will not be getting what you were promised, this is already a reality to those paying into private pensions so I would ask again – why did the unions not fight for those in the private sector?

I am not envious of your pension GrumpyRN and still cannot understand how you reach this conclusion. How does a post that asks why those in the public sector should be excluded from that that the private sector already experienced equate to jealousy?

You will have a NHS pension when you retire and it will not be the amount you were promised as, as those who paid into private sector pensions and indeed it is not fair (for all). If it is vague and wrong reasoning to ask why those in the public sector feel they should be excluded from that that is already a reality in the private sector – then tell me why.


Anna :o]