The Tories have made it crystal that if (when?) they get back in power they will have a crack at the pension schemes offered to public sector workers. As I've argued before I think this is fundamentally wrong-headed, and attacking the wrong problem (the real issue is increasingly poor provision in the private sector). But then I'm a bit old skool and think people ought to have decent pensions to retire on.
One thing is sure, the labour movement needs to prepare for an attack on public sector workers' pensions. I think it's really important that these arguments are framed in the right way to try and give us the best possible chance, so here are a few ideas.
1. We should describe an attack on public sector pensions as levelling down. This is exactly what it is - knackering good provision where it remains and bringing everyone down to a lower standard. If the impression is developed of an unnecessary and damaging intervention, talking in these terms might also appeal to people's bias in favour of the status quo.
2. Get figures together on typical pensions in payment. For example the typical LGPS pension in payment is about half the national average. Repeating these kinds of facts can challenge the myth propagated by the Right that these are gold-plated pensions.
3. We should stress any 'reforms' as removing valuable benefits. The message ought to be that something valuable is being taken away. People hate the idea that they are losing something they already have, so this could be an influential message. It will be tricky as presumably the Tories would close the current schemes to new members rather than attack current members' benefits.
As much as some on the Right seem to relish the opportunity to attack public sector pensions I think it could be a very costly battle if we take a bit of time to frame the arguments correctly in advance.