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Public sector workers value pensions above pay

Almost half of public sector workers would rather have a pay cut than reductions in their pensions, according to new research today.

A survey of 1,000 employees working in public sector organisations found they were "desperately" holding onto their pension packages in the face of planned changes announced by the government.

Teachers and civil servants have taken strike action over the reforms and unions continue to threaten further disruption later in the year if the row is not resolved.

Recruitment firm Badenoch & Clark said its study showed a majority of public sector workers believed their pensions were worth striking over.

Around a third of those questioned said they believed they should be paid more, arguing that wages in the public sector should be the same as in private firms.

Morale was said to be low, with three out of four describing the mood among public sector workers as "average to low".

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I so agree with BL of Wilts with regards to nurses' pensions. We are the lowest paid in the professional classes in the public sector. I have been paying pension since 1986 and will have a pension of £100 per week if I retire now on final salary after all those years. So much for my gold-plated pension. Compare my pension of 25 years to an MP's pension for one term. There is no comparison - just a minute, who has the gold-plated pension? I am disgusted with this government, is there no level to which they will not stoop? I have never agreed to strike before because of the patients for which I care. However, now I feel my very survival is at stake if I am not to live below the poverty line in my old age. We as nurses deserve a decent pension. When I did my training we were taught to lift heavy patients, unlike the training these days. The back injuries; wear and tear on ours bodies; and the continued heavy and increasing workloads take their toll. I have spent thousands of pounds over the years in chiropractors and physios in order to continue working and reduce the pain of a damaged back injury. I love being a nurse I just hate the conditions under which I work and am continually exploited. The pension is the final straw" - Christine 

"I totally agree with the above statement. I hope that all public sector unions continue to fight against any changes to our pension with support from their members" - F Salmon, London

"I doubt there will be any surprise over this article. As healthcare workers we understand completely how badly many older people are treated, especially the poor and vulnerable.  There is a general attitude from the public - fostered by the tabloid press - that we are somehow more privileged than the rest of society and no realisation that we actually pay for our pensions. Also, the vast majority of nurses are lower paid in
comparison to other equally qualified public sector workers such as teachers, police and local government officers, with unsocial hours to boot. Many nurses become burnt out with the relentless pressure of cuts and rising patient expectation; and we thoroughly deserve our pensions. For this millionaire government to treat us as an unaffordable necessity - whose over generous benefits need to be cut by taking away our pensions - that were not only part of our recruitment package but also used as a retention tool to keep us in the public sector, is nothing short of disgusting. I have no other assets apart from the hope that I won't be in poverty in old age due to the years spent as a public sector nurse. If we have to cut any benefits of any public servant, how about starting with the uber-generous pension and expenses given to MPs, some of whom only need one parliamentary term to enjoy a lifetime's benefits?" - BL, Wilts