UK - Amicus, the UK's largest private sector union, has pressed the Government to legislate against final salary scheme closures, accusing employers of turning back a century of pensions progress.
Union general secretary Roger Lyons also warned of “certain poverty” if action is not taken to protect employees and stem the rising trend.
Addressing a convention of Amicus members, Lyons said: There is silent revolution going on in the world of work. Employers are turning back a century of progress in pension provision.
If the government does not act to protect occupational pension schemes the next generation of working people face certain poverty in their old age.”
He added: Employers are creating a new burden for the state - mass poverty amongst future pensioners. The government must stop 'the great pensions robbery.’
Unions need the power to protect pensioners from poverty, the alternative will be disastrous for individuals and our society as a whole.
Lyons also addressed the Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a letter sent to 10 Downing Street. The union attacked the lack of government intervention in pension matters, and the increasing influence of accountants in directing future pensions policy.
Amicus favours the establishment of a 'central discontinuance fund', whereby the government acts as ultimate guarantor to schemes. The union also urged the government to ensure that accounting standard FRS17 is modified to introduce realistic provisions for 'smoothing' the impact of market-related fluctuations in pension liabilities on balance sheets.
Unions have been up in arms in recent months over the ending or dilution of occupational pension schemes. The Trade Union Congress urged trustees to think twice before “junking” their final salary schemes. The Transport and General Workers’ Union also expressed rage at the closure of the final salary scheme at food retailer Iceland.
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