Wednesday, 30 November 2011

So not everyone agrees with this strike do they, me for one that's sure!

OK let me play devil’s advocate here & put another angle on the public sector strikes. This is a scenario for a not un-typical man who's a small time builder, the sort of chap who most people will only see vaguely on a site building houses. This will happen to lots of people who are not public sector workers:

I am a builder aged 58, I am self-employed,  I do not run my own company but trade as a sole trader, so I have no income at all if a) I don’t work b) I am sick for a time (self-employed people cannot get statutory sick pay like employed people, they can only get employment support allowance which takes time to get & has to be applied for in the same way that unemployment benefit has to be applied for, so unless they are long term sick or unemployed,  no work no income).  If I’ve got the flu, unlike a teacher or refuse collector, I can’t just lie in bed for a week & still get paid. 

I have no work now because of the down turn in the economy. Yes there were a few good years back a while ago & I, like the whole of the western world took advantage of getting more & more credit to enjoy my life & taking out a bigger mortgage so that my family could live as comfortably as everyone else. 

My accountant advised me that unless I saved for a private pension I wouldn’t have any money after the age of 65 except for the State pension but I didn’t bother to take one out of course I was cocky & thought that I could save up enough not to bother with those money grabbing thieves at the pension companies who weren’t going to give me back anything like I paid in unless I lived until I was too old to care. Now like everyone else I will have to work until I’m 66 before I get state pension, OK that’s fair enough, but I have no work, nor do I have any savings left as I’ve been living on them for the last few years. I take the small jobs where I can, like repairing someone’s front wall, which I can hardly make any money out of because the work that I can get is so competitive that other people are undercutting me all the time. The money I get for the job barely covers my materials & the diesel I have to put in my van. 

So where do I go from here?  I’m finding it hard now to do the work that I did even 10 years ago. I’ve had a few accidents in my life & my joints are stiffening, it’s getting harder to get out of bed no matter what the season. My missus has a little job at the supermarket which keeps us in food & helps pay the bills but she’s 57 & won’t get her state pension until she’s just about 66. 

I don’t know how I’m going manage to work even if I can get a decent job, what with getting older & slower, when you have all these fit young lads who can shimmy up a ladder & not think about it. I can’t rely on anything at the moment so even if I had been able to afford to buy a private pension I’d have to have stopped paying into it a few years ago, so my pension would be worth b* all by now anyway.

This is why those of us who aren’t employed by the state have a problem with the strike, many of us don’t get anything except basic state pension unless we pay a very large amount for it, & while I, a woman, sitting at my desk & working can manage another 6 years or so if I have to, there are very many people out there who will physically be unable to carry on & never having had the benefit of being in state employment, won’t get any fat pension at the end of their working lives. 

Another thing that really amuses me is that many of these people who are striking would claim to be good citizens, caring about those less fortunate than themselves, many would also probably claim to be socialists as well, yet they don't give a rat's arse about the fact that it's all of the UK tax paying world who actually have to pay the rest of the contributions for these pensions. I see no problem with the public sector employees paying a higher percentage of their earnings if they want a decent amount for their retirement. I see many of my friends who have been teachers retire early, because they have had such inflated salaries compared to many in the private sector, that they have huge savings stashed away & can afford to travel off to all sorts of exotic countries, play golf & generally enjoy themselves & still expect us the public to pay them a grand pension. And if another teacher tells me how stressed their job is I think I'll wring their necks. Do they not think that people working in the private sector have to cope with stress? Once when we had to ask our solicitor for advice on an ex client who was being thoroughly nasty & offensive & threatening to sue us for nothing we'd done wrong, his comment was 'wouldn't life be wonderful without clients to deal with'! Even though I'm my own boss, boy do I get some awful times, after all I have to cope with public sector workers regularly & let me tell you I'd like to take them out & give some of them a good shaking down. Yes I know that very often their hands are tied with work practices that are sent down from above, but the people who sit on high are also public sector & IT'S ME WHO PAYS THEIR WAGES!!!! They are supposed to be PUBLIC SERVANTS, but do they ever consider that? Do they hell!

So that's why I'm afraid I have no sympathy with this strike. Get on with it, knuckle down & do the work like the rest of us have to to earn our money & just be grateful that you have a very well paid job & can live in comfort unlike those people who do not. Or retire early & live on your humungus savings & let some of the young people or those who have been made redundant & would kill for your jobs have them

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