Socialist Worker

Pensions round-up

Issue No. 1994

BA scheme is under attack

It's not just in the public sector that bitter battles are taking place.

British Airways (BA) announced last week that it will force workers to do up to ten years extra to get their pensions.

The firm announced that, “Normal retirement age (NRA) will rise to 65. The current compulsory retirement age for pilots and cabin crew is 55, the normal retirement age is also 55.

“For cabin crew NRA will rise to 65. To reduce the impact, for the first five years this will rise to 60.”

The announcement continued by, saying that as some countries including France and the US don’t allow pilots over the age of 60, the retirement age would rise to 60 for the moment. But, “If the flying restrictions are removed in the future, the airline will raise NRA to 65.”

The T&G union, which represents over 20,000 cabin crew and ground staff members at BA, pledged to resist the changes in pension benefits.

The union’s national secretary for civil aviation Brendan Gold said, “The proposal as presented to the T&G today is both unfair and unacceptable and does not represent a starting point for negotiations.

“BA is a profitable company not one in crisis. It must be remembered the pensions are deferred earnings.

“By capping increases in pension able pay, the company is proposing to take away benefits that have already been earned and paid for.

“This may be legal, but is morally wrong. The T&G is determined to fight to protect our members’ pensions.”

Workers with the white stuff

Some 2,000 T&G members at Dairy Crest could strike on 6 April over pensions.

A consultative ballot of staff working in deliveries and processing saw a massive seven to one support for a full strike vote.

Dairy Crest plans to axe the company’s final salary scheme for new entrants and force them into a money purchase scheme, which transfers the risk onto the individual worker.

Rail unions in joint meeting

Some 100 railworkers packed into the second joint rail unions’ pensions campaign meeting in York on Tuesday of last week.

Union leaders from the RMT, TSSA, Aslef and CSEU unions spoke of the serious threat to rail workers’ pensions resulting largely from the chaos of privatisation.

All four received warm applause for their insistence that the first united strike action on the railways since the 1926 General Strike is a real possibility if employers and government continue to refuse to meet the unions.

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