Nov 242011
 

With thanks to Brian Carroll.

Teachers, Local Authority Workers, Civil Servants, Community Organisations, Pensioners, Anti Cuts Alliances and members of the general public will be taking part in a Rally on Wednesday 30 November 2011 at 12 noon in the Castlegate, Aberdeen, as part of the National Day of Action.

It is expected anywhere between 2.5 and 3 Million Union Members will be participating in Strike Action against the Government’s Pension Proposals, as well as in support of Civil and Public Sector jobs and services.

This rally has been organised by the ATUC and is being supported by all Unions affiliated to the ATUC as well as by other organisations who support the ATUC.

Consisting of members from Unions such as Unite, Unison, GMB, EIS, PCS, CWU, UCATT and others, the rally will also have representatives from Community Organisations, Pensioners, Anti Cuts Alliances and members of the public taking part. This event will be the culmination of the National Day of Action in Aberdeen, with thousands of Union members having taken Strike Action and hundreds of Union Members having manned picket lines from 6am or earlier.

Speakers will be from Local Branches of National Trade Unions, representatives of various local community and anti cuts alliances and public service users.

Commencing at 12.30pm with people gathering from 12 noon, The Rally will end some time between 1pm and 1.30pm.

Everyone taking part has the common aim of working together to:

  • challenge poverty levels and campaign for the fair and equitable redistribution of wealth across Scotland and the UK
  • campaign to protect those hardest hit by service and benefit cuts
  • challenge austerity and call for investment in the UK economy which will create jobs, put Britain back to work, therefore boosting the economy and cut the deficit
  • protect pay, pensions, jobs and services of all civil, public and private sector workers
  • challenge the government to collect the £120 Billion tax gap of evaded, avoided and uncollected tax
  • get the banks working for the benefit of the country, to free up opportunities of investment, for them to start paying back the bail out money and to use the £850 Billion of banking assets the UK Taxpayer now owns for the benefit of the country as a whole.

They say that “we are all in this together” but the bankers and owners of big business are still getting their multi-million pound salaries and bonuses and the majority of the cabinet are millionaires.

The top 50 of the wealthiest people in the UK saw their personal worth increase by 35% in the last 2 years whilst middle and low income earners saw their income fall by at least 15% in the same period. It will fall by at least another 7.5% in the next year, if the Cuts agenda continues.

Jobs and services being lost now, will be lost forever !

Wednesday 30 November
Castlegate, Aberdeen.
Commences: 12.00 noon.
Ends: Between 1pm and 1.30pm. 

Nov 242011
 

Brian J Carroll, a long serving Aberdeen Civil Servant takes a look at the crucial role the Civil and Public Services play in our day to day lives and argues that this should be gratefully acknowledged.

Lets be thankful for Civil and Public Sector employees !

I have worked in the public sector for over 30 years and have reason to be grateful to the public sector for employing me but also have reason to be grateful for the services other civil and public sector workers provide to me, showing that they have a dedication, commitment and loyalty second to none, in the service I and others within and in other services deliver to the public on a daily basis.
Once these services are gone they will never ever come back again!

Lets hear it for all the hard working, dedicated, committed and loyal civil and public servants who have provided me and no doubt a lot of you with the services we need to see us through life from cradle to grave:-

  • My school teachers who taught me my letters and numbers, to read and write, english, arithmetic and maths, foreign languages, history and science
  • The nurses who came round and inoculated us against TB, mumps and measles
  • The Doctors and nurses in GP practices and hospitals who looked after me when I needed them
  • The air traffic controllers who saw to it that my holiday and work flights took off and landed safely
  • The benefit officers who helped me out when I was unemployed, skint and looking for a job
  • The registrar for doing their job in respect of births, marriages and deaths
  • The midwives who helped in the safe delivery of my nieces and nephews
  • The court officials, administrators and Procurator Fiscals who ensure that justice works on a daily basis
  • The radiographers who X-rayed me
  • Those at the blood transfusion service who helped me to help others
  • The firemen who put out a fire in a flat next to mine a number of years ago and the policeman who assisted in clearing the flats next to the one on fire
  • The gardeners who keep our parks looking nice
  • The refuse collectors, without whom we would be in a terrible state
  • The social workers who help and assist people daily with their problems and issues
  • The paramedics who answer our calls for help, day and night
  • The court officials who assisted me in dealing with my fathers estate
  • The physiotherapist who helped me after breaking my foot at rugby
  • The police officers who answer our calls for help day and night
  • The HMRC staff who assist with Tax Returns
  • The DWP staff who assist us in getting benefits and finding jobs
  • The librarians who provide a reading facility and library second to none
  • The museum officials who continue our learning of this country and the world
  • The grave diggers and others who give us a place to rest and a dignified send off

All these people are to have their nationally agreed pension rights cruelly slashed. The government says:

“They have to take the pain just like everyone else.”

Just because private sector employers who make billions of pounds of profit offer their employees such lousy pensions or no pension at all, does not justify underpaying public service pensions when they are affordable, fair and actually costing the country and the taxpayer less as time goes on.

The average public sector pension is £5600. The average private sector pension is £5800, The average company directors pension is £175,000 – they still have final salary pensions; that is the real scandal and rip off of pensions in Britain today.

Nobody joins the civil and public sector to get rich. They do it to serve the public. They have a public service ethos. We should value that and thank them for it – not vilify them at every turn on the back of government rhetoric and lies.

Oct 072011
 

Teachers, Local Authority Workers, Civil Servants, Community Organisations, Pensioners, Anti Cuts Alliances and members of the general public took to the streets of Aberdeen on Saturday 1st October 2011. With thanks to Brian Carroll.

The march and rally was organised by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS – the largest teaching Union in Scotland) and was supported by all unions affiliated to the Aberdeen Trades Union Council.

As well as EIS Members, the march consisted of members from unions such as Unite, Unison, PCS, CWU, FBU and others.

The march also had representatives from community organisations, pensioners and members of the public taking part.

In total 2000 marched down Union Street, the main shopping street of Aberdeen which stretches for over a mile, and the pipe band leading the march gave it all they had, as did the anti-cuts organisation, Aberdeen Against Austerity, which sang some colourful songs about fighting the cuts, and placing the ConDem government on a bonfire !

Key note speaker was Susan Quinn,  National Vice President of EIS.  Along with other speakers, she denounced the actions of the ConDem government in respect of their approach to civil and public servants, services, cuts, pensions, pay, jobs and services.

Support for action on 30 November 2011 was unanimous if the ConDem government does not enter into meaningful consultation and negotiation with all civil and public service unions.

The march in Aberdeen was the biggest in the City since an anti-cuts march which took place four years ago.  The march clearly showed that strong feelings against the cuts agenda.  Opposition to the pubic sector cuts is growing, gaining momentum and getting the support of the general public as they realise that once their services are gone, they are gone forever.

This march and rally coincided with and complemented the “People First” march and rally held in Glasgow on the same day, which was organised by the STUC and supported by all affiliated Unions and where 15,000 people marched.

Sep 302011
 

With thanks to Brian Carroll – PCS Union Branch Secretary of Scottish Courts Branch and ATUC Delegate for Scottish Courts Branch.

Civil Servants, Local Authority Workers, Community Organisations, Teachers, Pensioners, Anti Cuts Alliances and the general public are taking to the streets of Aberdeen on Saturday 1st October 2011.
This march and rally has been organised by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and is being supported by all Unions affiliated to the Aberdeen Trades Union Council.

As well as EIS Members, the march will consist of members from Unions such as Unite, Unison, PCS, CWU and others. The march will also have representatives from Community Organisations, Pensioners and members of the public taking part.

Marchers will assemble at Rubislaw Terrace (Opposite Harlaw Academy) at 10.30am, and will then march down Union Street at 11am to Aberdeen Arts Centre in King Street, where a rally will be held at 12noon.

The keynote speaker is Susan Quinn, EIS National Vice President, with other speakers scheduled to attend as well.

The rally will end some time between 12.45pm and 1pm.

This march and rally is an Anti Cuts event, coinciding with and complementing the “People First” march and rally being held in Glasgow on the same day, which is organised by the STUC and supported by all affiliated Unions.

Everyone taking part has the common aim of working together to:

  • challenge poverty levels and campaign for the fair and equitable redistribution of wealth across Scotland and the UK;
  • campaign to protect those hardest hit by service and benefit cuts;
  • challenge austerity and call for investment in the UK economy, which will create jobs and put Britain back to work: therefore boosting the economy and cutting the deficit
  • protect pay, pensions, jobs and services of all civil, public and private sector workers
  • challenge the government to collect the £120 Billion tax gap of evaded, avoided and uncollected tax and
  • get the banks working for the benefit of the country, to free up opportunities of investment. To get the banks to start paying back the bail-out money, and to use the £850 Billion of banking assets the UK taxpayer now owns for the benefit of the country as a whole.

They say that “we are all in this together” but the bankers and owners of big business are still getting their multi-million pound salaries and bonuses and the majority of the cabinet are millionaires.

The top 50 of the wealthiest people in the UK saw their personal worth increase by 20% in the last year whilst middle and low income earners saw their income fall by at least 10%. It will fall by at least that again in the next year, if the Cuts agenda continues. Not only that, jobs and services being lost now, will be lost forever.

 

Jul 012011
 

In a week where the media have been vilifying public sector workers taking strike action to protest at government cuts and pension changes, little coverage has been given to alternative proposals for dealing with the UK’s economic deficit. Patrick V Neville gives his views.

On June 30 we visited two picket lines and attended a meeting of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) to understand their feelings on cuts in public services and to show support for the workers who, against the wishes of the government, organised strike action.
Needless to say, PCS members we spoke to felt unhappy about our nation’s financial situation.

If the full cuts proposed are implemented, one in every five public service jobs would be lost, adding further to the UK’s unemployment rate. Not only could there be fewer jobs, but those who will still have a job available to them face cuts to their pension schemes.

Each worker in government pension schemes could see their contributions doubled or even tripled. To the best of my knowledge, this extra money contributed will initially end up in government funds – but with rising poverty, corporate tax avoidance and evasion and rising prices of consumer goods, will there even be money available for pensions in a few years time? If so, will the cost of living become too expensive for the average person to survive?

Investment in jobs and public services must be in place if we desire a future free from poverty and we could avoid the majority of public services cuts if we take the right course of action.

Corporate tax loopholes are estimated to be costing the tax payer £25 billion a year.

Since moving its headquarters to Switzerland, Boots has reduced its annual tax bill from £100m to £14m, a saving enough to employ 4000 NHS nurses.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/11/boots-switzerland-uk

Rather than closing tax loopholes, we are making cuts in the public sector.

Billionaire Sir Philip Green is to advise the government on how best to plan for the cuts, rewarding himself hugely in doing so. Sir Philip is the owner of the Arcadia retail group which includes Topshop, Topman, Burton, BHS, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge. The company is registered in the name of Sir Philip’s wife Tina, who resides in Monaco and therefore pays no UK income tax. This arrangement has allowed the Greens to save around £300m in UK taxes.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/03/topshop-philip-green-tax-avoidance-protest

Tax evasion and avoidance aside, who have we bailed out?

The Royal Bank of Scotland was rescued with £45 billion of public money. This represents over half of the £81 billion planned in cuts over the next four years. Rather than being allowed to stay open, the bank should have come to terms with closure.

Public spending cuts are more damaging, and minimising them and their effect is more important than encouraging risk-taking bankers to carry on trading.

UK Uncut has leafleted members of the public near the premises of targeted retailers to inform them of tax avoiding measures taken by these retailers.
http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/

I would encourage anyone wishing to preserve a future free from poverty to choose where they shop carefully, to write to politicians and businessmen, to contact journalists to demand coverage of tax avoidance and evasion and simply to consider bringing up these issues with friends and relatives.

Jun 292011
 

 With thanks to Mark Chapman.

Civil and public servants across the UK and from within Aberdeen & Inverness Revenue & Customs Branch, will be joining teachers, head teachers and university lecturers striking against attacks on pensions, jobs and services on 30th June.

The government wants to make public servants work at least:-

  • 8 years longer,
  • pay double or triple more per month
  • not get any benefit from that whatsoever to receive a reduced pension
  • accept real term pay cuts of 10% which is not only affecting the standard of living of public servants, but is already reducing the worth of their future pension entitlement

They say  ‘we are all in this together’ but the bankers are still getting their multi-million pound bonuses for failed banks owned by the taxpayer and the majority of the cabinet are millionaires.

In PCS Aberdeen & Inverness Revenue & Customs Branch we will be striking on 30 June.  There will be picket lines at all branch offices, but in Aberdeen as well as having a picket line, PCS representatives and members will also be joining together for a union breakfast followed by a cross unions meeting in the Aberdeen Trades Union Council Social Club at Adelphi at 12pm.

With inflation at over 5% in the last 2 years, the current pay freeze on Civil Servants pay actually represents a real terms pay cut of at least 10%. Probably more when you take account of rising costs. We have also had an increase in National Insurance contributions and VAT. Aberdeen PCS members’ standards of living have already been severely attacked and eroded and we are not prepared to accept any further cuts when they are totally unnecessary, especially when it is clear that the increased pensions contributions we are being asked to pay are going to pay off the deficit; these increased contributions are not being invested for the benefit of the employees.

There is £120 Billion of unpaid, evaded or avoided Tax to be collected and the UK, the 6th largest economy in the world, holds £850 billion in banking assets from the bailout of the banks – this is more than the national debt.

Mark Chapman, Branch Chair of Aberdeen & Inverness Revenue & Customs Branch of PCS Union said:

“The government admits that money cut from pensions will go straight to the Treasury to help pay off the deficit in what is nothing more than a tax on working in the civil and public sector. The very modest pay and pensions of public servants did not cause the recession, so they should not be blamed, punished or demonised for it.

“Unless ministers abandon their ideological plans to hollow out and attack the public sector in the way they propose, they will face industrial action on a mass scale on 30 June and beyond.”

An AO (Admin Officer), 38 yrs of age added:

“I’ve worked out that I will pay an extra £48.75 per month, have to work 7 years longer than I expected and will lose approximately £19,000 from my pension too.

“I cannot afford this. I already struggle to make it to pay day at the end of the month and this all because this government wants me and people like me to pay for a crisis caused by failed banks and the irresponsible non-investment decisions of those who run those banks.

“This is not equality of sacrifice, is not fair and is criminally unjust. This is on top of an expected pay freeze which is already making life harder for me and is already hitting the future worth of my pension”

There will be picket lines outside most major HMRC buildings and other Civil Service buildings, and services to the public will be disrupted.

Striking Aberdeen PCS Union members will join teachers, other striking workers and representatives from other Unions at various meetings and rallies up and down the country, showing support and solidarity for this action.

PCS, the Public and Commercial Services Union is the largest Civil Service Union. It has over 290,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies throughout the UK. It also represents workers in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS Union is the UK’s sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC.  For further info See: http://www.pcs.org.uk/