Thanks if you didn’t strike

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I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to all public sector workers in Lewes District who acted responsibly and turned up to work on November 30 in order to provide their usual excellent service. I myself had an important appointment at School Hill surgery in Lewes, and so would like to thank the staff there in particular for opening as normal.

It goes without saying that I have the utmost sympathy with anyone who is finding themselves struggling financially due to the economic downturn, no matter what job they do.

In these straightened times we are all working hard, yet finding it more difficult to make ends meet.

Around two thirds of those in the private sector have no pension provision at all because they can’t afford to pay for one; those that do, have seen their pensions drastically reduced over the last decade or so.

Someone working in an average-waged job in the private sector would have to set aside over a third of their take home pay in order to have the same retirement income as someone in a similarly paid public sector job.

So while the motivation to protect pensions is understandable, it is not realistic to expect low and medium waged private sector workers with no pension provision to pay into the favourable pension pots of public sector workers who may be on comparable or higher wages than themselves.

Nor is it realistic to expect one section of society, no matter how wealthy, to pay off national debts which run into trillions of pounds – they simply don’t have the money.

To those who went on strike or are thinkin of doing so again in the coming weeks: please do think about the realities of the situation.

Yes, it is unfair that you are being asked to work for less for longer for a problem that you didn’t create, but neither did your hairdresser or butcher, or even the person working in your local bank branch.

Is it fair to ask them to pay their taxes to fund your pension when they can’t afford a pension for themselves?

It is only by working hard together that we as a nation can get back on track.

Cllr Donna Edmunds, Lewes