I'm not sure how I feel about strikes.
Of course there are times when no one is listening and people are being sat on, and there's nothing else for it but to stop work until they do, but it really has to be a last resort, because there are always people who suffer and it's not only management and shareholders.
So what of today's strike?
From all I can gather the government is still saying that they will talk, but at the same time they are saying that they won't go any further or give any more, so you have to ask, what is the point of talking?
But are the public sector workers that badly done by compared with the private sector and self employed? After all we are all in this together. Everyone has to take a hit.
I posted a week or so ago about the pensions situation, and Edward Spalton made good points about the plight of the self employed person who has saved for his retirement, and is dependent upon the value of the stock exchange at the time of purchase, for the value of the pension.
I partially quote him here: "I just had a quick look at annuity rates for a man aged 65. With a private pension "pot" of £100,000. In May, this would have bought him an income of £6813 per year, today that is only £5972."
It's actually quite difficult to put together a pot of £100,000. Say you work for 45 years, that's £2,000 + a year, and let's face it, at least at the beginning that's not an easy sum to take off your income, when there's a mortgage and kids, university, weddings, etc.
Again as Mr Spalton points out, there is a chance of losing money with rogue companies (like Equitable Life), who because of mismanagement as far back as the 1950s, are unable to pay up pensions as promised.
And many people employed in the private sector now have that kind of pension too, where you buy your annuity, rather than final salary pension.
Even company pension schemes can go belly up. I heard a few years ago about a man who was ready to take early retirement at 63, with his wife of 60 (at that time eligible for a state pension). They had sold the house and bought property in Spain and about a week before his retirement date his company pension fund went broke, leaving all his plans shattered.
So the public sector pensions, poor as they are, are better than many people have. And these people are helping to subsidise the public sector.
And yet, that is what they signed up for. It's in their employment contract. Stability, nothing grand, just stability.
As I said in the post I referred to earlier, the government ministers negotiating this settlement with the unions, where people work longer, contribute more and get less, Danny Alexander (whose constituents marched on his office today demanding his resignation) and Francis Maude, have managed to see THEIR pensions untouched.
As Craig Murray points out here what many of the strikers interviewed by tv and radio stations today find so unpalatable is that THEY are paying, these cleaners and the mocked dinner ladies, office workers on 3/4 of the average wage, for the folly of people who have been touched not one tiny bit by any kind of reduction in their terms and conditions.
Bankers' and ministers' terms and conditions carry on as if nothing has happened and let the rest of the population pay for it.
On reflection, I think that today was justified, if only to show the government that it can't ride roughshod over people's terms and conditions and expect them to take it lying down, especially when the people responsible are laughing all the way to the Seychelles or, in the case of ministers, the British Virgin islands, where they (or at least some of them) keep their fortunes.
PS: Jeremy Clarkson, who is paid over £1 million pounds a year by the taxpayer funded BBC, said on The One Show, which goes out at 19.00 and so is watched by kids, that strikers should be taken out and shot in front of their families. Why, he wondered should they get guilt edged pensions while the "rest of us" work for a living?