SINN Féin came out in support of the Trade Union’s recent Day of action. Elected representatives and activists were out on the picket lines and attended the main local rally at Ballymena.
North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay said: “Sinn Féin supports the Trade Union action on Public Sector Pensions. We are doing so because we do not believe that low paid workers should pay more in pension contributions.
“That is why we have proposed a scheme which would have seen those workers earning less than £32,000 per year exempted. So far the Unions have continued negotiating this issue centrally with the British government and do not want the Executive to deal directly with the pensions issue.
“What the Executive are faced with is a demand from the British Government for an additional £300m for public sector pensions. We are opposed to this but we are also opposed to this being taken from frontline services like education and health.
“We are also conscious of the many people with no jobs and no pension provision who are being directly impacted by the Tory cuts were not part of the strike action by the Unions. What is quite clear is that the British Government’s ‘cut and slash’ approach to economics is not working and they do not understand what needs to be done to stimulate the economy here in the north and get it moving again. That is why local politicians need to control the economic levers, so that they can act in the best interests of people living here as the Tories do not.
“What we would like to see is a united voice from Trade Unions and Executive parties making a demand of the British Government for:
- Greater fiscal powers to allow the Executive to deal with issues like this
- A change in the cuts policy being imposed by the British government
- An honouring of the commitments made with regard to the capital budget
And at the Executive we want to see the Budget review group bringing forward proposals for additional revenue and examining other ways we can offset the £4bn cut. Much good work has already been done to offset some of the cuts and we need to continue with that.”