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Shock and AWE tactics in fight for decent pensions

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Issue 2537
The AWE site in Burghfield
The AWE site in Burghfield (Pic: Tony Austin/flikr)

Workers who develop and maintain nuclear weapons were set to start the first of two new sets of two-day strikes to defend their pensions on Wednesday.

They previously held two one-day strikes last autumn.

The 600 workers are members of the Unite union at two Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites in Berkshire.

Bosses plan to close their defined benefit (DB) pension scheme on 31 January.

It would be replaced by a defined contribution scheme—where workers’ retirement income depends on the stock market rather than being guaranteed—which is worth less.

Socialist Worker opposes nuclear weapons, but supports workers fighting their employer and defending pension rights.

AWE was privatised in the 1990s and is now run by a consortium.

Unite says the attack on pensions breaks promises made at the time.

It is calling for its members to be taken back into the Ministry of Defence pension scheme.

These fights need to be brought together.

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