Attack on pensions: We won’t work till we drop!

Attack on pensions: We won’t work till we drop!

WHO DO these people think they are?

Digby Jones of the bosses’
organisation the CBI, Chancellor Gordon Brown and other cabinet
ministers and Adair Turner chairman of the Pensions Commission all have
gilt-edged pensions.

Ken Smith

But, they have the cheek to tell the rest of us that if we are to
have even a sniff of our state and occupational pensions we’ll have to
work longer, pay more and claim less.

They want to tear up the public-sector framework agreement which
allows current members of public-sector pension schemes in health,
education and civil service the prospect of retiring at 60 and it seems
likely they want us to carry on working longer before claiming our
pittance of a state pension.

For many public-sector workers, their measly occupational pensions –
£4,000 a year on average for civil servants – mean they have to carry on
working until they are 65 anyway.

If the pension age increases to 67, as the Turner Commission is
likely to recommend, then they will have to carry on working till then
also. The right to retire at 60 will be an illusion for many.

Fat Cats

Last week the top bosses and government ministers said it was unfair
that public-sector workers could claim their occupational pension at 60
while private-sector workers work until they are 67.

Well these Fat Cats know a thing or two about getting away with
unjust practices.

All these top bosses can retire at 60 with pensions worth up to 45
times more than most staff pensions.

And MPs have always given themselves over-generous increases in their
pension entitlement. Immediately after the 2001 general election, MPs
voted to increase their salaries by 26% and further enhance their
pensions – described now as the "best pension scheme in Western Europe".


An MP can now retire on an index-linked maximum pension of two-thirds
salary after only 20 or so years’ service or five general elections.

As usual it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us.

Our message should be if they won’t give up their pension
entitlements then why should we? Why should we work until we drop?

There is enough money there to provide decent state and occupational
pensions for all. The trouble is the bosses and fat cat MPs don’t want
to share it with us.

But if public-sector workers, private-sector workers and pensioners
unite against the divide and rule bosses then we can stop greedy, lying,
parasites like Digby Jones in their tracks.

National Demonstration

If workers campaign to ensure the TUC acts on its decision to call a
national demonstration uniting all workers, then we can build a movement
that protects public-sector pensions for all.

That could bring final-salary schemes and the right to retire at 60
back for all private-sector workers and introduce a decent, living
pension equivalent to the European Union decency threshold of £320 a
week for all pensioners.