Theatre nurse Eleanor Smith (centre), President of Unison leads health workers out on strike at midnight from the Birmingham Women's Hospital
Well, here we are on November 30th – the day the State sector has chosen to hold us all to hostage. With Diversity and Equality co-ordinators off for the day, it’s gonna be a tough one. It’s also been a tough start to the day on the BBC what with the Met Office being out of commission, no sign of Humphyrs or the fragrant Sarah on Today, but Evan Davies and Justin Webb have been doing their best for the comrades on the picker lines. I was entertained by this interview with Trade Unionist Dave Prentice, with Webb claiming the government are “spoiling for a fight”. Really? If the government were any more supine on this they would be horizontal yet through the BBC prism this is Thatcher in 1979 all over again.


As the Public Sector strike draws nigh, a Biased BBC reader generously provides us with the sort of insight which the State Broadcaster conspicuously ignores;


If you want irrefutable evidence of the real cost of public sector pensions a public sector trade union has unwittingly provided a convincing example of the mammoth cost from its annual accounts. An example that is substantive, not speculative.

In accordance with an agreement with their staff trade union, the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA – 46,000 members) provides pension benefits for its employees comparable to those of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS). NIPSA, has however to invest its employer contributions with insurance companies to obtain comparable superannuation benefits for its retiring staff.

In Northern Ireland, and in GB (with its Principal Civil Service Superannuation Scheme or PCSPS), civil servants who joined before 2008 contribute nothing toward their pensions which are unfunded, inflation-proofed and based on final salary. NIPSA’s employees are however, like those civil servants, required to pay a contribution of 1.5% (refundable) towards the cost of dependents’ benefits.

In its 2009 valuation, NIPSA’s actuary assessed a shortfall in its pension scheme funding of some £1.9m and recommended the employer contribution rate should be 39.3% from 2010 with a contribution of £210,000 p.a. to recover the funding shortfall. The employer rate, previously 40.8%. (see 2009 accounts) was insufficient to bring the scheme out of deficit!

Presumably other trade unions who match civil service pensions for their staff are experiencing the same shortfalls despite an employer contribution of 40% of staff salaries.

So there you have indisputable evidence-based proof: We pay at least 40% on top of a civil servant’s salary to provide them with their pensions and lump sums (3 x annual pension rate).

And they are on strike because they are being asked to pay 3% more.

In fairness it should be 35% more. “

I do hope the BBC will ensure that important fact based data like this is properly reflected in the debate and my thanks again for the contribution.