Work­ers walk out over pen­sions

Evening Express (Extra Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jen­nifer Mckier­nan

THOU­SANDS of pub­lic sec­tor work­ers were to­day on strike across the North-east.

Work­ers at 20 gov­ern­ment of­fices, in­clud­ing Aberdeen courts, coast­guard and HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms, were walk­ing out in protest over cuts to pen­sions and pay.

UK Bor­der Agency staff work­ing on screen­ing for in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals at Aberdeen Air­port could also be af­fected by the strike, al­though air­port bosses said they ex­pected to­day’s op­er­a­tions to run nor­mally.

Mark Chap­man, chair­man of the Aberdeen branch of the Pub­lic and Com­mer­cial Ser­vices (PCS) union, said he ex­pected 2,000 mem­bers would be on strike.

He added: “These cuts don’t add up and they will just run the econ­omy down. If we ac­cept these deals from the gov­ern­ment it will have a knock-on ef­fect on the pri­vate sec­tor be­cause we will not be spend­ing our money in the shops.”

Mr Chap­man said pub­lic sec­tor work­ers were an­gry banks were not “pay­ing their fair share”.

And he said pri­vate sec­tor work­ers who com­plained about cuts to their own pen­sions should look to the peo­ple at the top.

He added: “We keep get­ting told we’re all in this to­gether – but we are not.

“It’s par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult when MPs are not hav­ing their pen­sion con­tri­bu­tions re­vised.”

A pay freeze for pub­lic sec­tor work­ers rep­re­sents a real-term pay cut of 10%, ac­cord­ing to the PCS, as in­fla­tion has been at 5% for the last two years.

He added that 28,000 jobs had al­ready been lost in the past five years – with an­other 14,000 set to go be­fore 2015.

PICKET: Aberdeen Sher­iff Court staff on strike to­day.

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