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MPs look after themselves but we have to...
Fight to defend pensions
WHAT HAPPENS when your pension scheme goes into deficit? If you're a private pensioner it may mean your employer closes the whole scheme down and throws you onto an inferior one. This is even if the bosses have caused the deficit in the first place by having pension "holidays". Or they may even declare themselves bankrupt so you get nothing at all.
If you're a public-sector worker you have to make big sacrifices to go on strike to keep the rights you've won over the years and the scheme you've probably paid thousands in to.
But if you're an MP, you just get the scheme bailed out with taxpayers' money. Their scheme's deficit has risen to £49.5 million but poverty in retirement is not for them. We'll have to pay an extra £1.2 million a year to make sure they're OK after their years of hard work for the public good.
Lord Turner has just published the last part of his report on pensions. He's proposing raising the state pension age for women to 65 by 2020 and to 68 for everybody by 2050. He's also proposing making a few improvements to the state pension scheme by restoring its link with earnings by 2010. He says this will stop the "relentless spread of means testing".
But already the bosses' union the CBI are wingeing about the possible costs of such changes. They want employers to be able to opt out of the new National Pensions Savings Scheme that Turner proposes.
Under this scheme workers would have to pay in 5% of their wages and employers 3%. But the bosses are crying out for government subsidies before they stump up their "share".
It's clear the bosses can't be trusted with our pensions. They look after themselves and their friends in the House of Commons whilst expecting us to work until we drop.
- No increase in the retirement age.
- Step up the strikes to defend public-sector pensions if the employers won't budge.
- TUC call a national "Defend Pensions" demo now.
- For a state pension you can live on, index-linked to the rise in earnings.
"The most solid strike ever" reports on the one million-strong strike for pension rights 28 March
The next strikes are planned for 25-27 April - a "rolling programme" of regional strikes - with possible further strikes in May. The meat inspectors' strike due for 2-7 April has been called off whilst talks take place.
In The Socialist 6 April 2006: