WE recently attended the UNISON National Conference for Retired Members (R.M.) and were urged to join with working members in explaining to local communities the true facts behind the proposed industrial action: hence this letter.

Public sector workers will need to pay more, work longer and then receive a worse pension.

Here are some facts: l At present the Treasury receives £2 billion more in NHS pension contributions than it pays out in benefits each year l proposed pension contribution increases could cause 350,000 workers to opt out of public service schemes l the average pension for local government workers is around £4,000 a year: hardly gold-plated l the average pension for NHS workers is around £7,000 a year: still not gold-plated l the bosses of Britain’s largest companies receive an average pension of £224,121: most certainly gold-plated l far from being a drain on the economy the Local Government Pension Scheme is a major contributor to the UK and world economies with £114 billion invested in industry and creating jobs l the increase in pension contributions will be used to help pay off the national debt which could be reduced much faster if bosses’ pensions and bankers’ bonuses were reduced.

Although those taking action may be seen to be looking after their own interests there is a need to take a stand before other threats to the welfare state are introduced and carried through.

Already the NHS is being demolished although before the election the Tory Party claimed to be the party of the NHS.

The Coalition offered to listen but who has it listened to?

Not the Royal Colleges who are responsible for delivering hands-on care.

By moving from calculations based on the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index the state pension has been reduced by 15% over a ten year period.

It is the very lowest in Europe at just 30.8% of the average working pay while Luxembourg’s is 88.3% and the average for Europe is 60%.

The rise in 2012 may be higher than expected but the rise in energy prices is even greater.

It is anticipated over 2,700 people will lose their lives due to fuel poverty this winter.

We could write much more. Some of us remember the old song: “The rich get rich and the poor get poorer.”

Well here we go again!

Colin Richardson, R.M. Bucks County Branch, Cynthia Gomm, R.M. Bucks Health Branch, Unison