Strike action could be avoided by the Government and public sector employers better communicating the benefits of working for the public sector.
While David Cameron is appealing to public sector workers to refrain from striking this week, CIPD’s reward adviser Charles Cotton believes that better communication is the key. More awareness of the benefits of the public sector in comparison to the private sector could help prevent escalating strike action, even after the changes to pensions. This is proposed as employers are bracing themselves for strikes by teachers and civil servants this Thursday.
Cotton comments: “The simple fact is that the proposed changes will improve the long-term sustainability of public sector pension schemes.” He says that even after these changes are implemented, employees in the public sector will still be better off than those in the private sector regarding sick pay, access to occupational health services, paid leave, flexible working as well as pensions. He emphasises that “the challenge for Government and public sector employers is to communicate this.”
“Other major challenges will include introducing the changes in such a way that the lowers paid workers do not opt-out of pensions. It’s also important for the rest of the public sector workforce to not discount what is still a generous perk. For this to happen, we need the Government and unions to move away from monologue to dialogue to create a pension scheme that meets both the needs of public sector workers as well as tax payers.”