Socialist Worker

Pension threat to eight million

Issue No. 1787

If you work for ICI, BT, Marks & Spencer, Iceland or a string of other top firms your pension is under threat. Such companies plan to slash what they spend on pensions by a third and make workers pay more. If they did this directly through a pay cut everyone would know what was happening.

But many people are only vaguely aware of their pension arrangements and therefore miss this attack. Many firms have long had what are called 'final salary' pension schemes. These guarantee a pension based on what workers are earning when they retire. Now bosses want to impose 'money purchase' pensions. These link the pension to shares and stake workers' future on the international stock market casino. Nothing is guaranteed. Companies will pocket billions over the next decade from the switch, money taken directly from workers' pockets. Top pension law firm Eversheds says the move is 'a potential disaster in the making' for eight million workers. Eversheds ought to know. As it admits, 'We are dismantling these schemes wholesale' at the behest of top firms.

These moves follow the government's shift towards forcing workers to take out private pensions. The result will be more old people in poverty. The unions should be fighting back.

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Sat 16 Feb 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1787
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