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19 June 2012
The BMA doctors' pension strike should be seen in the context that half the NHS workforce currently receiving pensions get £4,000-a-year or less, Unite, the largest union in the country, has said.
Half of NHS workers get pensions below £4,087 in pension payments, according to Lord Hutton's report on public sector pensions, commissioned by the coalition.
Unite members will be showing solidarity with the BMA doctors on Thursday 21 June – leafleting, joining picket lines and attending lunchtime meetings.
Unite's head of health Rachael Maskell said:
"The doctors' fight should be seen in the context of NHS pensions generally which are not generous.
"Half of NHS employees will receive at or below £4,087 per year when they retire. Many NHS employees are women whose pensions would have been reduced by career breaks.
"The government's arbitrarily imposed pensions changes will mean NHS employees paying more, working until the age of 68 and receiving less once they retire. The average Unite NHS member is paying an average £30-a-month more in contributions.
"This needs to be seen against the current two-year public sector pay freeze which has meant substantial cuts in income for NHS workers and reductions to other terms and conditions, at a time of soaring household bills.
"The NHS pension scheme has a £2 billion surplus, so these changes are unnecessary. What ministers are imposing is nothing short of a tax on NHS employees.
"The government's proposals have been met with almost universal opposition from the trade unions and professional organisations.
"Once more Unite is calling for ministers to re-start negotiations on NHS pensions."