We support the students in their aims in fighting the cuts and opposing tuition fees. We also support the university staff in opposing cuts to pensions and pay. We all need to make a stand against the government.
Mark and Stuart
Guys, have a look at the UCU’s own factsheet on the pension proposals for its members on its website here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/t/n/uss_branchbriefing_mar11.pdf
Note that the value of a Senior Lecturer’s pension pot currently is £1.25 million on retirement. A professor’s pension pot would be worth double that. As it is grossly underfunded, it is your generation that will have to pay for this through taxation from when you start working. Your self-interests and theirs are so not aligned. How have they managed to persuade you to fight for their extremely privileged pension promises, which can only be funded at your future expense?
The attempt to divide young and old, public and private from each other is clear from the governments proposals.
The fact is, the government is trying to make public sector workers work longer, get less and pay more. The fact that UCU were on strike to defend it’s hard won pension schemes should be applauded as it resulted in 2million+ workers going on strike, sending a clear message to the government.
There are over 1 million young people unemployed, it is absolute madness to force workers to work till they drop while young people rot on the dole queues!
This is why we should be supporting ALL workers on strike to defend pensions, including our lecturers.
The government is trying to make it a race to the bottom in the public sector, just as it has been in the private sector for the last decade or so and we can’t let this happen.
Jack, I see that you do not challenge the fact that a Senior Lecturer’s pension pot is currently worth £1.25 Million on retirement, according to the UCU’s own figures.
And I don’t challenge your opinion that: “there are over 1 million young people unemployed (and) it is absolute madness to force workers to work till they drop while young people rot on the dole queues”.
However, even the most Marxist analysis would note that the economic interests of middle-aged tenured academics looking forward to their lump sums and an inflation proofed pensions of 66% of final salary at 60 are different to the people who will be paying for the same out of their future taxes and current University Fees.
You say that there is an “attempt to divide young and old, public and private from …the governments proposals”. But that division of interests is inherent and is factual. In real life, of course we are never and nowhere “all in it together”. Marxism is about understanding class divisions, is it not? They exist within societies and between them. Seen in a Global context, we are all in the UK viewed by the Third World as part of the 1%.
If you are a young student, likely you will not be able to retire until you reach 73. Therefore, you are most definitely not in it together with the current generation of academics whose Union has managed to game the system so as to gain pension promises from the government that their own pension contributions can come nowhere near to funding. Of course the country “can afford” these pension promises to the UCU, but only by fiscal transfers from the likes of you, in the future.
As a future public sector worker (environmental health) and an occupier, it is almost self interest that I support the pensions struggle, but the point is that for most of us, we aren’t acting in self interest, we’re acting in solidarity with the older generation’s struggle. As you say, we won’t be able to retire until we’re 73. Are you saying we shouldn’t help with the pensions fight because of this?
Nyika, Thank you for your lack of economic self-interest. As I am myself of the older generation I stand to benefit from intergenerational transfers from people like yourself through the tax system from the young to older workers. Of course, we cannot and will not reciprocate as, having taken your money, we will be dead by then.
Promises have been made to too many people in the past that should not have been because, in the absence in the previously expected/hoped-for growth in tax revenues, it is mathematically impossible for any government to keep all of them.
So no, I don’t think that you should help the “fight” of middle aged people to hang on to extremely privileged pension promises that even the UCU union negotiators (see their own counter-proposals for public sector newcomers) are not being extended to your generation and which you will nevertheless have to pay for.
What cannot happen, will not happen.
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