Britain’s basic state pension is only 15% (and falling) of average earnings. It is the meanest, in proportion to earnings, of all the richer capitalist countries.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the civil servants’ union PCS, has called for a one-day public-sector general strike in early 2005 over pensions.
The UK’s pension fund bosses control about £600 billion. Meanwhile the basic state pension has been progressively run down so that today, at £79.60 per week, it is only 15% of average earnings. On present trends it will be down to 10% of average earnings by 2020.
Earlier this month the government’s Pensions Commission reported on the state of Britain’s pension provision.
Its main finding was that 11.3 million workers were not making any pension contributions, and that those who are making pension contributions are saving “too little”.
AWL leaflet for PCS dispute, October 2004.
By a civil servant
Civil servants should vote “yes” in the ballots being conducted up to 22 October by the PCS trade union for a strike on 5 November. We are facing serious attacks by a ruthless government that plans:
By a RMT member
The RMT is holding talks with bosses at Network Rail in their dispute over pay and the closure of the pension scheme to new workers. Both signal and infrastructure staff. have been offered the reinstatement of their Christmas bonus (£35) which they lost last year, a 25% discount on season tickets for work related travel and a Joint Working Party (talks) on pensions.
By a PCS member
Research published by J P Morgan Fleming in May 2004 revealed that nearly two-thirds of the UK's top pension funds have closed their final salary pension schemes to new members. According to the TUC these closures have already saved employers £4 billion in contributions.
In one of the most recent developments, RMT members working for Network Rail have voted to strike over the closure of their final salary pension scheme to new staff. Quite obviously, once a company has succeeded in dividing workers in this way there is every temptation on greedy bosses to attack the relatively "privileged" existing scheme members - worsening the accrual rate, increasing the retirement age and so on. And there have been a large number of strikes in many companies over this issue.
The AWL offers some ideas for trade unionists on the 19 June TUC pensions demonstration (assembling from 11am at the Embankment, London). Download pdf here.
THE UK's pension fund bosses control about £600 billion. Meanwhile the basic state pension has been progressively run down so that today, at £79.60 per week, it is only 15% of average earnings. On present trends it will be down to 10% of average earnings by 2020.
By a rail worker
A ballot of 7,000 Network Rail workers by the RMT union has gone in favour of industrial action.
The result was 58% in favour (2,947) and 42% against (2,246). However, the RMT was forced to admit that only a very narrow majority of the signalling workers - they key section involved - voted for action.