new threats to pensions


Within weeks of the Turner & Newall pension fund collapse, leaving over 40,000 workers and pensioners with no provision, and within days of the TUC warning the government of the crisis facing pensions, more threats to retirement rights have emerged.

Civil Servants, local government and NHS workers will now face review and "modernisation" proposals from the government. These proposals will see the extension of the the normal working life from 55 years to 65 years. The government's preferred option is in fact to put no ceiling on retirement - in other words 70 years, 80 years or work until you die!

Unions across the public sector are now engaging with the consultation exercises, ensuring as many members as possible register their objections and protests. But there is a clear recognition that defence of existing pension schemes, let alone seeking improvements, is looming as a major issue. The industrial action on this issue which has swept through private industry is now a distinct possibility for the public sector.

One partner union in the creation of Unison was formed solely to establish pensions for senior officers in local government. Nearly 100 years later not just senior managers but all staff in the public sector are now under threat.