UK - Trade unions have warned of more strikes to defend pension benefits unless the government takes "radical action" to halt the growing crisis.
Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber said compulsory contributions for employers should be phased in and employee membership to a scheme should be a condition of employment.
He also called upon the government to restore the link between the state pension and earnings.
Barber - speaking ahead of the TUC conference in Brighton - said: “Unions will fight to defend pension benefits. We will negotiate, we will campaign and, if we have to, we will strike. Only employees without unions to defend them now have employers who can get away with easy cuts to their pensions.”
Barber claimed that only a third of workers now had a pension linked to pay and nearly half would depend on state benefits when they retired.
The TUC’s latest figures showed the number of workers in the private sector who had a final salary pension scheme had dropped from 5.6m in 1991 to 3.8m in 2001.
Barber also hit back at Confederation of British Industry director-general Digby Jones, who described unions as “increasingly irrelevant”.
He said: “Westminster and Whitehall are full of lobbyists for employers, the insurance companies and the financial services industry. Yet those contributing to the pensions they provide would have no voice at all without unions.
“The Pension Protection Fund, opposed by employers and the financial services industry, would not be about to become law. Pension scheme members who have lost their savings would now be getting no compensation whatsoever.
“Companies across Britain would have got away with big cuts in the pensions for their staff if unions had not stood up and said “no”. Irrelevant, I don’t think so.”
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Martin Freeman has been hired as head of technology product and development at Smart Pension, to support the 'growing' technology product side of the business.
Tim Sharp says the government has missed some big opportunities to help workers in the DB white paper.