Letters, Monday, December 30, 2013

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Have your say

We all have right to a decent pension

AS a last resort, and after more than two years of pleading with the Government to listen to the its own reports and other qualified medical health research, the Fire Brigade Union has had to take strike action to try to protect the pensions of its workers – our firefighters.

 Firefighters are not asking for anything. This is not about pay. This industrial action is about ensuring firefighters keep their current pension protection so they can work and risk their lives knowing, if they are no longer able to work, they and their families will get a pension and not be finished without one.

 The Government proposals to change the pensions in 2015 expects firefighters at 60 to meet the same physical fitness standards as 20-year-olds or, possibly, be sacked on capability grounds with no pension at all.

 Firefighters, due to their high-risk job, have always had to pay a lot into their pension scheme, between eight and 13 per cent – currently about £340 to £400 per month.

 The Government’s proposals also includes raising pension contributions even higher, making it even more difficult for firefighters to stay in their pension scheme.

 Every person should have the right to retire and receive a pension – a decent pension. No person should retire into poverty or have to work after pension age because they can’t afford to retire, and in this case nobody should ever be sacked without a pension just for getting old.

 All workers deserve a decent pension. If firefighters are successful, it gives hope and could help other workers.

 No worker wants to strike; sadly, firefighters are striking as a last resort as this is now the only way to get the Government to listen.

 Please support your firefighters in their struggle.

Gordon Chalk,

FBU Sunderland Divisional Official

Alarming prospect

CITIZENS of Sunderland should be alarmed by the decision to place the future of Sunderland in the hands of just two men – one of them unelected.

 The prospect of a “super-council” is frightening enough – Sunderland would simply be a small cog in a big wheel – if it goes ahead.

 But even more worrying is the decision by the city cabinet to leave the final decision to the council leader Coun Paul Watson, and the chief executive, Dr Dave Smith – the two people who have presided over the sorry decline of the city centre over the past decade.

 Mr Smith may well possess a doctorate of some meaningful description, but I would love to know what particular educational or professional qualifications are held by Coun Watson.

 A decision of such magnitude should be a matter for the full council, after a comprehensive debate involving all political and non-political parties and not left at the discretion of two people – however powerful they may be.

 What do we have council elections for if major decision are left to the favoured few?

 As for the council cabinet passing the buck on such an important matter, just what are they paid special responsibility allowances for if they choose to abdicate responsibility for a decision which could have a major impact on the city in the foreseeable future?

Frank Johnson

Women not forced

IF there was ‘a snowball’s chance in hell’ of the Sun’s Page 3 being scrapped, I’d join the 125,000 petitioners, along with Lesley Aitch.

 Her recent letter mentions the impoverished, but most of her letter focuses on women, the impoverished taking second place in her opinion.

 She won’t qualify like any Page 3 beauty in any aspect, so therefore won’t be idealised.

 Life is as it is, and should be prioritised.

 Page 3 ladies are not forced. They get paid and are very pleased to do so.

 The wastage, poor, starving, undernourished are forced.

 Lesley, set up a petition against that and I’ll sign.

 That would be a more meaningful petition.

Mr J A Stott,

Washington