Barber: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax?

The government is salpping a tax on public sector workers to clwar up the bankers mess. If ministers negotiate in good faith, a deal can still be done says Brendan Barber

By Brendan Barber, General Secretray of the TUC

This government cancelled the tax on bankers’ bonuses. Instead it has brought in a nurses’, teachers’ and lollipop ladies’ tax.

This is what the increase in pension contributions – around £1,000 a year for a nurse – really means. It is not paying for pensions but going straight to the Treasury to fill the hole left by the bonus tax.

This is why today sees the biggest strike in a generation. The government has so alienated its workforce that as many as two million people could be striking today.

Many more will be supporting the day of action. Some will be in striking unions but providing emergency cover. Others will be in unions who are not taking action today, but have said, like the RCN, that they will ballot if they cannot achieve a fair negotiated settlement.

Ministers like Michael Gove want people to think that they are all a bit dim and have been manipulated by their ‘militant’ leaders.

Let me tell him just how wrong he is.

Unions take no pleasure in this strike. It is very much a last resort, yet it has been the only way that we have been able to get the government to start negotiating properly.

It is only when we called the day of action that ministers moved, yet we still don’t know the full details of what this will mean at scheme level.

This is what has brought unions like the head-teachers who have never even balloted for action before out on strike today.

Yesterday’s autumn statement made matters worse. Taking the pensions contribution increases together with the current pay freeze and a further two years of a one per cent pay cap adds up to a 16 per cent cut in living standards on average by 2014. For many just above average pay it will be even steeper.

Government attacks on the strike have been predictable. They tell us that not enough people voted for them, yet every union that has balloted has achieved a big majority. Across all the ballots support for a yes vote was 77 per cent.

Five unions got a bigger share of their membership to vote yes than any MP managed from voters at their constituency at the last election.

Opponents make much of poor pensions in the private sector as if a race to the bottom was the solution.

Of course it is unfair that two out of three private sector workers are not in a workplace pension, but it would hardly make the world a better place if we expelled two out of three civil servants from their pension scheme too.

I want to see a fair negotiated settlement to this dispute. But ministers would be well advised to reflect on how they have managed to unite the entire public sector in opposition to their plans.

A deal can be done but there needs to be serious engagement in the weeks ahead. Sometimes only a cliché will do: The ball is in the government’s court.

See also:

Osborne proved the doommongers wrong – the economy is even worse than we predictedGeorge Irvin, November 30th 2011

“We’re all in this together” – when ‘we’ means the bottom 80%Will Straw, November 29th 2011

OBR confirm Osborne will borrow more than the Darling projectionDaniel Elton, November 29th 2011

Who is paying for the chancellor’s announcements?Richard Exell, November 29th 2011

How Osborne’s locked in to making the bad times worseTony Dolphin, November 29th 2011

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31 Responses to “Barber: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax?”

  1. Zing

    RT @leftfootfwd: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel bankers' bonus tax?: http://t.co/IWfzqByA : asks @TUCnews' Brendan Barber #N30

  2. Max

    Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers' bonus tax?: http://t.co/BVmOHKoP : asks @TUCnews' Gen-Sec Brendan Barber #N30

  3. Glenys Thornton

    Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers' bonus tax?: http://t.co/BVmOHKoP : asks @TUCnews' Gen-Sec Brendan Barber #N30

  4. Sandwell Green Party

    Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers' bonus tax?: http://t.co/BVmOHKoP : asks @TUCnews' Gen-Sec Brendan Barber #N30

  5. Alan199

    Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers' bonus tax?: http://t.co/BVmOHKoP : asks @TUCnews' Gen-Sec Brendan Barber #N30

  6. Nick Reid

    Under Labour in the financial year to April 2010 bankers paid 40% income tax on their bonuses. And their employers paid about £2.5bn in a tax on bonuses.

    Under the Tories bankers pay 50% income tax on bonuses. And their employers pay a £2.5bn levy.

    So the bonus tax (which Darling admits could only have been a one-off) was replaced with a bank levy. And income tax has been raised on rich bankers.

    It really is stupid of Mr Barber to suggest that bankers are paying less tax.

  7. Political Planet

    Barber: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax?: The government is salpping a tax on pu… http://t.co/T1U4rnRQ

  8. Chris

    Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers' bonus tax?: http://t.co/BVmOHKoP : asks @TUCnews' Gen-Sec Brendan Barber #N30

  9. Christian Wilcox

    A very fair comment on these strikes and the Bankers Bonus Tax: http://t.co/dDoNB6j3. Care to comment @GavinBarwellMP? #Croydon #Labour #N30

  10. Anonymous

    Why shouldn’t the tax payer get a direct vote in to whether or not they want their taxes going on services or going to the minority for their pensions?

    Next you will be saying that the private sector should be getting pensions as good as the state sector and we must ensure this.

    Then in the next paragraph you will contradict yourself and say, we can fund public pensions by hitting the private sector saving for their retirement by removing tax relief (actually deferral)

    You’re just after other people’s money, and want the government to get it for you. Pure and simple. Just as the corporates who get the government to do their dirty work. From getting a bank bailout to a massive subsidy to put in photovoltaics.

    Get real. There is no money. They have spent the lot and more.

  11. Michael

    Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax? l Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/bV71iM4F

  12. ToUChstone blog

    Barber: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax? – Left Foot Forward http://t.co/0mTKD5iG

  13. Pensions Justice

    Barber: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax? – Left Foot Forward http://t.co/Tlgm3oaF

  14. KAAL Group

    Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax? l Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/bV71iM4F

  15. Gemma Tumelty

    Barber: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax? – Left Foot Forward http://t.co/Tlgm3oaF

  16. Aaron Kiely

    Barber: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax? – Left Foot Forward http://t.co/Tlgm3oaF

  17. neil lambert

    Barber: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax? – Left Foot Forward http://t.co/Tlgm3oaF

  18. a man called horse

    RT @leftfootfwd: Barber: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers' bonus tax? http://t.co/ZIVZ4OOw

  19. Dan Olner

    Can anyone point me to a more detailed article to help explain this? I’m getting wound up by the idea of the pension increase being, in part, simply a tax on public sector workers to helpe pay down the deficit – but I don’t know anything about how pension contributions are generally structured. So e.g. if there might be good reasons to “invest” some of the pension contributions in reducing the deficit because it will reduce borrowing costs. I guess the question: is this just a blatant tax on public sector workers, or are there (good) arguments that it’s simply investing the pension fund?

  20. Christian Wilcox

    @ClareHilley Then get back round that table. http://t.co/dDoNB6j3. Your parties corruption will be its downfall. #Croydon #Labour #N30

  21. seuss

    Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers' bonus tax?: http://t.co/BVmOHKoP : asks @TUCnews' Gen-Sec Brendan Barber #N30

  22. Christian Wilcox

    @ToryPressHQ Erm… http://t.co/6antzKx1 & http://t.co/dDoNB6j3. Your corruption will be your downfall. #Croydon #Labour ( @Ed_Miliband
    )

  23. Pauline

    Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers’ bonus tax? l Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/bV71iM4F

  24. malcolm

    Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers' bonus tax?: http://t.co/BVmOHKoP : asks @TUCnews' Gen-Sec Brendan Barber #N30

  25. Christian Wilcox

    @tony_pearson http://t.co/dDoNB6j3 & http://t.co/6antzKx1. Your parties corruption will be its downfall. #Croydon #Labour #N30 ( @CllrTony )

  26. NonnyMouse

    The pension schemes for the low paid are protected in the government proposals anyway, as are people within 15 years of retirement. Those lollypop women won’t pay a penny more and will get better pensions.

    The unions are fighting to keep an unfair advantage in pay and pensions, not for their fair share.

    Public sector women are twice as likely to have pension schemes (>80% vs <40%). Fewer private sector men and women have pension schems after 13 years of Labour and more public sector workers have them. They have made pensions less fair, not more fair.

    Public sector women get 28% higher pay than private sector women, although allowing for different education levels that figure is 10%.

    These strikes are about keeping the unfairness.

    The government proposals (which were started by Labour) will eliminate the gap by 2016. That is fair.

    If you want evidence based blogging then look at my blog post. http://mrnonnymouse.blogspot.com/2011/11/them-and-us.html

    My figures are based on IFS analysis and ONS data, not propoganda and lies.

  27. Kevin Richards

    RT @leftfootfwd: Barber: Why are lollipop ladies paying to cancel the bankers' bonus tax? http://t.co/8SBTvya2

  28. Christian Wilcox

    @GavinBarwellMP http://t.co/6antzKx1 & http://t.co/y1NHu3NG. Now add: http://t.co/dDoNB6j3. #payattention007 ( @CllrTony #Croydon #Labour )

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