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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 July 2009
COMPUTER GIANT IBM is the latest company to end its final salary pension scheme for its 5,000 members, having already closed it to new members. IBM follows recent similar closures by Morrisons, Barclays and BP.
25,000 Unite members in Barclays are balloting for strike action over the bank's plan to axe its pension scheme.
Ending such schemes saves companies around 20% of payroll costs.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey last month found that 72% of companies were considering ending their final salary schemes. This closure trend means that, along with an inadequate state pension, younger workers face having to work longer to try to avoid an impoverished retirement.
IN THE 1990s with the stock market booming, many companies stopped paying in contributions to occupational pension schemes. According to the Inland Revenue, employers saved almost £18 billion during this period, even though workers continued to make contributions.
Companies also looted pension fund surpluses to boost profits. Unilever, for example, stripped out £1.2 billion. Some £726 million of this was handed over to shareholders as dividend payments.
Companies' 'pensions holidays' meant that when stock markets plunged, a huge 'black hole' was left in pension funds. At the start of 2009, 7,800 pension schemes had a total £100 billion black hole.
THE STATE pension age is 65 for men and 60 for women. The state pension age for women will increase gradually from 2010, so that by 2020 it will be 65. The state pension age for both men and women is to increase from 65 to 68 between 2024 and 2046.
The current full pension is only £95.25 a week. A married woman's pension is a paltry £57.05.
2.5 million pensioners live below the poverty line, ie have a household income of less than £226 a week.
An MP with 20 years' service can expect to receive around £30,000 a year in today's prices after they retire.
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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 21 July 2009:
Corus... Vestas... Defend every job!
No Job Cuts
Vestas: Support the occupation
Vestas jobs fightback
Action to save steel jobs at Corus
Defend the Four: Protest at the Unison witch-hunt
Unison witch-hunt verdict causes outrage amongst trade unionists
Youth fight for jobs
Youth fight for jobs fortnight of action
National strike action to halt attacks on workers and our postal services
Tube workers' action wins concessions
South Yorkshire First Buses strike over pay
London Met Uni strike
Every little helps Tesco's as they attack workers
Teachers strike against job cuts
Care homes public meeting
Union action to fight the attacks on our pensions
Pensions - in brief
Pensions: We say
BNP get police to arrest socialists
Lincoln fights back against racist BNP
Stop the BNP's 'festival' of hate
Rock Against Racism
Socialist Party campaigns
Keep Deptford Jobcentre open!
Build the Tamil Solidarity campaign
Devon residents against incinerators: Alternative waste schemes needed
Another stepping stone towards health privatisation
Marxist analysis: history
20th anniversary of Soviet miners' strike
40th anniversary of the moon landing What steps has humanity taken?
The Socialist 21 July 2009 |
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