Socialist Worker

Spurned by Labour — demanding pension funds justice

Willie Riggins was the T&G convenor at United Engineering Forgings in Ayrshire where hundreds of workers lost their pensions. He spoke to Socialist Worker from a protest at the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

Issue No. 1970

‘We protested at the conference this week about the lack of action for people who have lost their pensions when their firms folded.

There are around 80,000 people from nearly 400 schemes who are in this position.

These people did as they were told and paid in to what they believed were safe schemes. Then the money disappeared.

The government faced an uprising from trade unions and some backbench Labour MPs over the theft of these pensions, so it conceded the Financial Assistance Scheme, a compensation fund of £400 million over 20 years.

But this does not go nearly far enough.

The scheme will help less than one in five of the people who have lost out. 

Scheme

You have to be within three years of scheme pension age to get help — and then you get only 80 percent of the pension at best. None of the benefits that are being paid will be inflation linked. 

I expected to retire on £130 per week — plus the basic state pension — and with a tidy lump sum of £30,000.

I had earned that by paying in for nearly four decades. But it was snatched away.

I’m looking at a pension of £40 a week and a lump sum of just £12,000.

There is a class element at work here.

The farmers got £1.6 billion compensation for the foot and mouth cull.

The money went mostly to better off people who will never support Labour. But workers who have supported the party all their adult lives are spurned.

We protested this week and are going to keep up the campaign.

We demand justice.’


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News
Sat 1 Oct 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1970
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