pensions - unions rally


June 19th will see a major rally and demonstration jointly sponsored by the Trades Union Congress and the Pensioners National Convention in central London. The rally and demonstration will come against a backcloth of the TUC issuing warnings that industrial action to defend pension schemes will occur.

Not that the TUC has any teeth or tanks but many constituent unions are growing in their fury as pension schemes are shattered, looted and milked dry.

During the 1990s over £18.5 billion were snaffled by employers' "pensions" holidays and raids on pensions schemes. Over 60,000 workers have been left pensionless after company schemes have collapsed and the investments found to have been stolen away. Robert Maxwell and the Daily Mirror pension scandal was not an aberration!

Even the CBI is having to join in and criticise the "top hat" two-tier pension schemes - whereby directors and board members get unbelievable pay-offs and golden goodbyes and the workers get reduced schemes and a blunt "sod off"!

The government proposal to fund a rescue package of £400 millions to help such workers is a drop in the ocean compared with what has "disappeared". Welcome though it is, it reflects government fear over the rising opposition from trade unions — those in work defending those who have retired, and pensioners' organisations — the ten- million-strong grey vote and MPs getting rather nervous about being re-elected.