October 19, 2005


Climbdown over pension age in face of strike threat (HAMISH MACDONELL, 10/19/05, The Scotsman)

MILLIONS of public sector workers yesterday won the right to retire at 60 after the government backed down on plans to increase the retirement age in the face of a nationwide strike.

Ministers had proposed a change to the public sector pensionable age, raising the retirement age for state employees from 60 to 65 to help stave off a looming financial crisis for the government.

But yesterday they agreed to drop this after vehement opposition and the threat of a general strike from trades unions. [...]

The agreement dismayed business leaders who warned that the climbdown over pensions would create a two-tier workforce, with private sector workers increasingly worse off in retirement, while public sector workers lived well on the proceeds of others. Sir Digby Jones, the director-general of the CBI, said: "The government has capitulated to the threat of public sector strikes and conceded that 21-year-old civil servants can retire aged 60 in 2044. Lucky them, at a time when private sector employees face the reality of longer working lives."

David Frost, the director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, described the deal as "very bad news for business".

He told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "What message is being sent out? We are being told in the private sector that we are going to have to work longer and put more money into our pension pots. But here we have one sector of the workforce who can still retire at the age of 60 on index-linked pensions."

That's one way to get folks to favor nationalizing everything.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 19, 2005 8:57 AM

I guess Calvin Coolidge is just too much for them to emulate.

Posted by: ratbert at October 19, 2005 11:24 AM

'First Way' solution: minimize the 'public sector'. Government is incapable of managing a large payroll.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at October 19, 2005 12:32 PM

Yes, that's exactly what the Third Way does by out-sourcing civil service jobs (the reason Homeland Security was accepted by the WH), and forcing people to maintain their own welfare net, via things like personal SS accounts, school vouchers, HSAs, etc.

Posted by: oj at October 19, 2005 12:39 PM

You don't outsource unproduductive jobs, you end them. The issue is not who performs the function but who pays for it. As long as the state pays, the jobs will remain, productive or not.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at October 19, 2005 1:02 PM

Until you outsource them you can't end them--that's the nature of the professional Civil Service.

Posted by: oj at October 19, 2005 1:05 PM

So we'll have both civil servants and outsourced workers? Two doing the job of one or only new 'positions' being outsourced?

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at October 19, 2005 1:24 PM

No, the reforms that the President won allow existing jobs to be outsourced.

Posted by: oj at October 19, 2005 1:29 PM

The state just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It's ok, it's the 'Third Way'.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at October 19, 2005 1:43 PM

No it doesn't. It's smaller and will get smaller, though the privatized security net will actually make it appear massive.

Posted by: oj at October 19, 2005 1:45 PM