The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is threatening widespread industrial action over government plans to change current pensions policy in the public sector, including raising the retirement age from 60 to 65.
Congress has made the threat in its 2005 preliminary agenda, a precursor to events to be discussed at the annual TUC conference in Brighton next month.
While the government has agreed to negotiate all aspects of the proposals during the conference, the TUC says it believes the Whitehall ministers will continue to argue ‘strongly’ for the pension age to increase.
In a very thinly veiled threat the TUC says: “To defend our members’ interests it will be necessary to maintain and enhance the public sector campaign alliance and to organise together for maximum pressure should further united industrial action prove necessary.”
Moreover, the TUC says confidence in pension saving is at its lowest point ever and while government has made a bold attempt to provide security through the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for those individuals who have lost out, it argues the creation of the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) ‘is a flimsy vessel on which to float workers’ hopes of receiving their pensions.’
It argues the government should not be let off the hook by merely pledging to review FAS funding over the next three years.
“Diligent savers who have worked for decades remain without any prospect of security for themselves or their families. The only pension consensus that has existed in recent years is that £400m over 20 years to help victims of scheme wind-up and company insolvency would not be remotely sufficient," it adds
The TUC will therefore call an immediate guarantees for all victims suffering pensions losses to be compensated by at least the amount already promised to those closest to retirement.
The body says more than 800 delegates will be in Brighton in September to discuss a host of issues including public sector pensions, while speakers will include TUC general secretary Brendan Barber, TUC president Jeannie Drake, chair of the Women & Work Commission, Barnoness Prosser, chair of the Pensions Commission, Adair Turner, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alan Johnson MP, and Labour Party chair, Ian McCartney MP.
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