Women’s Pensions

Back to all Motions

2006 Retired Members' Conference
16 June 2006
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that the current pension system was designed in the 1940’s and cast women as dependents.

This means that subsequent generations of women have lost out because of unequal pay, part-time working, and caring responsibilities giving them lower incomes over their lifetime and for too many, poverty in old age.

The plight of women pensioners is highlighted by the following:

1)one in five single women pensioners lives in poverty;

2)twice as many women as men rely on means tested benefits in retirement;

3)for every £1 a man receives from a pension, a woman receives 34p.

Conference believes that the situation is unlikely to improve for future women pensioners unless the current system is reformed. Research shows that half of all women don’t save more into pensions because they haven’t got enough spare cash.

Possible action to alleviate the burden on women pensioners could include:

a)ensuring individual rights to a pension income;

b)designing a pension system which includes more women, for example by reducing the number of contributory years required for a full pension or by introducing a residency based pension;

c)introducing a national pensions savings scheme.

Conference therefore calls upon the National Retired Members’ Committee to work with UNISON’s National Women’s Committee and the National Pensioner’s Convention to:

i.formulate action to be undertaken to address the plight of women in the current pension scheme;

ii.involve members of UNISON, both working and retired in any campaign to obtain appropriate reforms to the pensions system to alleviate poverty amongst women pensionsers.