Headlined, 'Let's hear it for all public sector staff', the following letter by Gerrard Sables appeared in 15 November edition of the Western Morning News in response to a previous reader's letter criticising public servants who will be on strike. The letter was forwarded to me by our local Trades Union Council.
Mr Sables, who is a rep in PCS's retired members section, writes:
"I worked in the public sector for 25 years and have reason to be grateful to public sector workers.
I wish to thank the following:
My school teachers who taught me my letters and numbers, an appreciation of Shakespeare, how to conjugate French verbs and the co-efficient of linear expansion
The nurses who came round and inoculated us against small pox and tuberculosis
The air traffic controllers who saw to it that my flights took off and landed safely
The benefit officers who helped me out when I was skint
The registrar who married us
The midwives who helped in the safe delivery of my children and grandchildren
The court officers who officiated at my divorce
The radiographers who X-rayed me
Those at the blood transfusion service who helped me to help others
The firemen who put out my chimney fire
The gardeners who keep our parks looking nice
The refuse collectors, without whom we would be in a terrible state
The paramedics who looked after my parents on their way to hospital
The probate officers who sorted out my mum's estate
The nice lady who works for Barnstaple Town Council and books rooms for meetings for me
The physiotherapist who is helping me through a frozen shoulder
And even the police officers who arrested me when I was doing a non-violent action at RAF St Mawgan
These people are to have their nationally agreed pension rights cruelly slashed. [The previous letter writer] says: "They have to take the pain just like everyone else."
Just because the private employers offer such lousy pensions does not justify underpaying public service pensions.
Nobody joins the public sector to get rich. They do it to serve the public. They have a public service ethos. We should value that.”