Socialist Worker

Take stock on pensions

Issue No. 2590

Striking to defend pensions

Striking to defend pensions (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Global stock market gyrations this week should send a warning to millions of workers about their pensions.

You don’t want your pension decided by the jackasses who run the markets.

For decades firms have moved away from “defined benefit” pension plans. These guaranteed a sum each month based on a percentage of your wages during the time you worked.

These have been replaced by cheaper “defined contribution” schemes, whose pension payouts are based on the performance of share prices.

If your pension scheme’s in trouble it’s not because the boss is hard up
If your pension scheme’s in trouble it’s not because the boss is hard up
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Imagine waking up each morning and scanning the news to see if your pension had nosedived because of investors selling off shares.

Already half the people who have so far received their defined contribution pension say it is not enough to live on.

That’s why it is right to fight for pensions that offer security in the future, as university lecturers will be striking to defend. And it’s a mistake to think pensions based on investing in shares are good for workers.

It’s a point Royal Mail workers should consider as they vote on whether to accept such a scheme.

The unions and Labour should fight to stop pensions getting worse than they already are for many workers.

We need a much higher state pension—and to defend workplace schemes that guarantee security in retirement.

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