Sayeeda Warsi: Strikes are a slap in the face to hard working people in Britain

The Daily Star Sunday, Sunday 18th September 2011

These strikes are a slap in the face to hard working people in Britain.

At a time when we are working flat out to bring Labour’s reckless spending under control, these walkouts will bring disruption and damage to our economy.

I wonder if these union leaders – with their huge pay packets – have thought about the effect they will have on hard working people in our country?

All across Britain, families are tightening their belts as the world faces some incredibly tough economic times. These are the people who will suffer the consequences of this strike action.

Of course, we massively value the work of our public sector. They teach our children, run our hospitals and deliver our emergency services. They are vital to our country.

That’s why we’re proposing a fair deal on public sector pensions. It’s a good deal for people who work in the public sector and a good deal for taxpayers as well.

The terms proposed are still great pension schemes for the public sector. What the Government is doing is asking people to pay a bit more towards them and work a little longer in order to make them sustainable.

It’s the sheer unfairness of what the Union Barons are proposing that gets me.

For years, Star readers who work in business and private sector companies have seen the gap between them and their public sector colleagues get worse.

In the public sector, pensions were protected while people in the private sector saw their pensions cut and faced tough redundancies.

The point is we need to act in the national interest, not for factional interests, and the Labour Party have to be responsible here.

If they’re serious, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls must stand up to their union paymasters – who give Labour 85 per cent of their cash – and work with us to bring them back to the negotiating table. This is about the national interest – not factional interests.

This Government stands firmly behind hard working people in this country in the public and private sector. These strikes are bad for business, bad for the economy and bad for Britain.

Union bosses must rethink this reckless decision that will damage jobs and achieve nothing.