Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Public sector 'being sacrificed'

One day strike gets under way in Belfast as striking workers, picket outside Government Buildings.
One day strike gets under way in Belfast as striking workers, picket outside Government Buildings.
Translink workers protesting outside the Short Strand bus depot in Belfast, where 200 buses are off the road
Public sector workers on the picket line at Altnagelvin Hospital on Wednesday morning. Picture Martin McKeown.
Public sector workers gathered for a rally outside Belfast City Hall
Public sector workers on the picket line at Altnagelvin Hospital on Wednesday morning. Picture Martin McKeown.
Striking workers hold life-size images of Prime Minister David Cameron outside Stormont Castle
Public sector workers on the picket line at Altnagelvin Hospital on Wednesday morning. Picture Martin McKeown.
Public sector workers on the picket line at Altnagelvin Hospital on Wednesday morning. Picture Martin McKeown.
One day strike gets under way in Belfast ...a normally busy Europa Bus Station lies empty
DOne day strike gets under way in Belfast ... normally busy Europa Bus Station lies empty with just one woman waiting to travel to Dublin
One day strike gets under way in Belfast as striking workers, picket outside Government Buildings, Belfast
One day strike gets under way in Belfast as striking workers, picket outside Government Buildings, Belfast
One day strike gets under way in Belfast as striking workers, picket outside Government Buildings, Belfast
Pacemaker Press Belfast 29-11-2011:Paul Hartin pictured at Nipsa union HQ getting ready for strike action tomorrow. Members of one of the main public sector unions, the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (Nipsa), will go on strike on 30 November. The union's general secretary Brian Campfield said the industrial action reflected anger over attacks on pensions, pay and jobs.Picture by: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 29-11-2011:Paul Hartin pictured at Nipsa union HQ getting ready for strike action tomorrow. Members of one of the main public sector unions, the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (Nipsa), will go on strike on 30 November. The union's general secretary Brian Campfield said the industrial action reflected anger over attacks on pensions, pay and jobs.Picture by: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 29-11-2011:Nipsa union members pictured getting ready for strike action tomorrow. Members of one of the main public sector unions, the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (Nipsa), will go on strike on 30 November. The union's general secretary Brian Campfield said the industrial action reflected anger over attacks on pensions, pay and jobs.Picture by: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 29-11-2011:Lisle-Anne Scott pictured at Nipsa union HQ getting ready for strike action tomorrow. Members of one of the main public sector unions, the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (Nipsa), will go on strike on 30 November. The union's general secretary Brian Campfield said the industrial action reflected anger over attacks on pensions, pay and jobs.Picture by: Arthur Allison.
Press Eye, Belfast, Northern Ireland - 29th November 2011 - Members from the union Unison prepare at their Belfast offices for tomorrows country wide strikes.Photograph: Stephen Hamilton Presseye.com
Press Eye, Belfast, Northern Ireland - 30th November 2011 - Members of the Nipsa unions join the strikes at Antrim road Belfast.Photograph: Stephen Hamilton Presseye.com
Press Eye, Belfast, Northern Ireland - 30th November 2011 - Members of the Nipsa unions join the strikes at Antrim road Belfast.Photograph: Stephen Hamilton Presseye.com
Press Eye, Belfast, Northern Ireland - 30th November 2011 - Members of the Unite and Nipsa unions join together at Antrim road Belfast.Photograph: Stephen Hamilton Presseye.com

The public sector is being sacrificed for the richest 1%, a trade union rally in Belfast has been told.

Household budgets are stretched while elite pensions remain "gold-plated", Irish Congress of Trade Unions assistant general secretary Peter Bunting said.

Many schools and colleges closed and hospitals postponed operations in the dispute over Government cuts and future pension provision. There was also no public transport.

Thousands of public-sector workers across Northern Ireland were participating in the most widespread action for more than three decades.

Mr Bunting told crowds at Belfast City Hall: "The public sector is being sacrificed in the name of an ideology which favours the 1%."

The protest is against UK Government plans to increase the amount of money public-sector workers pay into their pension, raise the retirement age to 67 and introduce career-average pensions.

Higher contributions are due to be phased in over three years from April 2012, amounting to an average 3.2 percentage points more in each employee's contribution rate.

Ministers argued that change was needed because people were living longer and said the cost of public-sector pensions to the taxpayer had already gone up by a third.

Unions said the changes would mean people working longer, paying more and getting less - and pointed to forecasts that the cost of pensions would drop as a share of GDP by 2060.

Employers' organisation the CBI said the biggest impact on the private sector was people not being able to get to work because of disruption to public transport or parents having to stay at home to look after children due to school closures.

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