Defending Public Sector Pensions

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2010 National Delegate Conference
22 February 2010

Conference condemns the continuing attacks from politicians, the media and employers on public sector pensions. These attacks often use misleading statements referring to public sector pensions as ‘gold-plated’ or claim that there is ‘pensions apartheid’ between public and private sector workers.

Conference acknowledges the growing gap between public and private sector pensions, but this is caused in the main by the employer retreat from decent pensions in the private sector. The answer is not to level down but to level up. Our society should not be engaging in a ‘race to the bottom’ of pension provision. Conference believes that every worker should have access to a decent and a fair pension.

Research from a range of bodies highlights that the real pension divide is between company directors and employees, where directors can retire at 60, with a final salary pension 25 times higher than the national average which they accrue twice as fast as both their workforce and the public sector workforce. It is also worth noting that while the average occupational pension in the UK is around £8,100 per year, the average payout from the local government pension scheme is less than half of this at £3,800.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council, working with relevant service groups, to:

1)Defend Public Sector Pensions against the ill-informed attacks, including counteracting the claims made by those who attack public sector pensions;

2)Reaffirm its support for affordable pensions for all workers, believing that any solution should be based on levelling up, making private companies face up to their responsibilities, not cutting public sector pensions;

3)Provide briefings for activists against scheme closure or attack;

4)Devise a union wide campaign, similar to that run to defend the Local Government Pension Scheme, to defend our public sector pensions;

5)Encourage and support regions and branches to campaign locally and to lobby politicians on this issue;

6)Campaign for the restoration of final salary schemes and against all scheme closures;

7)Work closely with all public sector unions who are willing to jointly campaign to defend our pensions.