Socialist Worker

Bosses in AWE of workers power in pensions dispute

Strikes took place at the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s (AWE) two sites in Berkshire and workers are not going to take having their pensions slashed

Issue No. 2541

Some 600 workers struck on Tuesday at the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s (AWE) two sites in Berkshire, with another walkout planned next Tuesday.

It’s part of a long-running dispute over pensions. Bosses of the privatised weapons of mass destruction agency closed their defined benefit pension scheme on 31 January.

Unite demands that the workers are brought into the public sector pension scheme. In a letter to the Tory defence secretary, Unite deputy general secretary Gail Cartmail emphasised the workers’ contribution to Britain’s nuclear weapons and warned that the strikes would mean “delays to the Trident programme”.

But Trident is an obscene threat to humanity at immense public expense. It should not be renewed—and in the meantime the more delays the better.

The AWE dispute is part of a generalised attack on final salary and defined benefit pension schemes.

Bosses across the private sector want to slash workers’ retirement income and leave it to the mercy of the stock market.

Meanwhile, former Tory minster David Willetts this week called on the government to end the "triple lock".

This sees the state pension get annual rises matching those of average earnings, inflation or at least 2.5 percent.


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