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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 December 2005

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".

MPs

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.

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In The Socialist 1 December 2005:

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

Pensions struggles still loom

Don't let the profit system cost us the earth!

'Free market' threatens cold weather crisis

NHS feature: Bring the campaigns together

Campaign for a New Workers' Party

Fight for a political voice for young people!

Hidden - the effects of term-time working

Weakness invites aggression

Workers fight introduction of cheap labour

USA - Lame duck president George Bush waddles on

Exploited workers in Middle East fight back

LSP/MAS mobilises against neo-fascists


 

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