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From: The Socialist issue 564, 28 January 2009: Join the march for jobs

Search site for keywords: Pension - Bolivia - Repossessions - Evo Morales - Iceland

Fast News

Final salary

IN AN economic recession, making workers pay for the crisis is the capitalists' guiding principle. The latest example of this 'philosophy' is the expected decision by 25 of 100 major UK private sector companies to close workers' final salary pension schemes to existing members.

In recent years the majority of schemes have been closed to new recruits but now the trend is to end them for existing members, saving the employers a shed load of cash.

The schemes are linked to the performance of bonds and stocks and shares. During the boom years on world stock markets many of the bosses took a pensions holiday instead of continuing to invest in the schemes. Consequently, when bull markets turned to bear markets the schemes had accumulated an enormous deficit - 195 billion in December 2008.

Naturally, CEOs and top managers will continue to receive fat pension pots on retirement as will MPs.

Repossessions gloom

THE NUMBER of people losing their homes after failing to meet mortgage payments has doubled in the last year.

Repossession orders granted by the courts in the third quarter of 2008 were 13,161 - up 92% compared to a year earlier. Those three months or more in mortgage arrears swelled to 340,000, 24% higher than the previous year - a figure expected to reach 500,000 this year.

All the government's talk of giving help to those struggling home owners appears to be so much headline hype.

Meltdown

ICELAND'S BELEAGUERED right-wing coalition government collapsed last week - a consequence of the turmoil sparked by the country's financial collapse.

Continual street protests since last October finally dislodged PM Geir Haarde, who announced he was standing down on health grounds and called for an early general election, possibly to be held on 9 May.

With living standards in freefall, over 8,000 people demonstrated against the government last week - the biggest public demonstration in the island's history.

Bolivian vote

AN OVERWHELMING majority of Bolivians voted in favour of a new constitution that ostensibly gives more rights to the country's indigenous and poor communities.

Around 60% of electors approved left-leaning president Evo Morales's reform, despite violent opposition in the run up to the vote orchestrated by the capitalists/landowners in the economically richest provinces. This elite has been threatening to break away to preserve their privileges.

The Bolivian section of the CWI - Revolutionary Socialist Alternative (ASR) - gave critical support to the new constitution.

ASR in its leaflet declared: "The real struggle begins after we approve the new constitution. Workers, peasants, and indigenous people need to fight to carry out the guarantees in the new constitution and ensure that it is only the first step towards a socialist revolution."

More in a future issue





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Pension:

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleSet for national strike action

triangleThyssenKrupp - Tata steel merger

Bolivia:

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

triangleIntimate insight into a revolutionary icon

Repossessions:

triangleThe growing housing scandal

triangleNews in brief

triangleStop the repossessions

Evo Morales:

triangleRevolution and counter-revolution in Bolivia

Iceland:

triangleInternational Panama Papers protests