Vincent Hammersley’s address to Occupy Warwick

by Ruth

Vin Hammersley is the President of the Warwick branch of the University and College Union (UCU).

Firstly, I want to thank you all on behalf of the Warwick branch of UCU for your support and goodwill during the strike on November 30th. Your presence added a great deal of impact to our demonstration at the entrance to the site last week.

The action we are taking is being grossly misrepresented in the press and media – and by Jeremy Clarkson. We are not greedy public servants leeching off the hard earned taxes of the rest of the state – we pay a considerable contribution to our pension scheme – in my case over £3500 a year and the average pension of a public sector worker is only in the region of £5000 a year.

These pensions should not be considered to be a gift of a munificent state in a civilised democratic society, decent conditions in retirement should be the right of us all. Over the last century, we have fought for and earned our pensions, our education and our social services and – sadly, I seee each and every one of these rights now being attacked, eroded and privatised.

And by who? By a government made up of millionaires, an emerging political class who can know nothing of the way most of us live. Dictated to by a small but greedy band of despots who have awarded themselves increases of over 30% to their already sinfully bloated salaries this year alone – whilst urging the rest of us for restraint.

It has been a long time since I have seen such honest concern coupled with the balls to take action from young people like yourselves – it is one of the few things which gives me hope for the future.

Thank you all.

Re-published with Vin’s kind permission.