UK - Radical moves to make pension schemes a legally binding part of an employee's pay package have been put forward by a major trade union.
The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers believes it is scandalous that schemes can be changed fundamentally without employees having any power to stop it.
Usdaw's call follows similar comments by other unions in the past two weeks.
Usdaw general secretary Bill Connor said: “A contributory pension should be treated as an integral part of the pay and conditions package, which should be binding on both employer and employee.
He added: “It is scandalous that pension schemes can be fundamentally altered, barred to new members or closed down completely without employees having any power to stop it.”
These comments come just days after the TUC hit out at companies which have altered their pension provision. The TUC claims that companies are just cutting costs and slashing workers' pay and not – as firms would have people believe – making their pensions more flexible.
However sources within the trade union movement believe that any legal action to stop companies moving from defined benefit to defined contribution provision and make pension rights binding “are very unlikely to succeed”.
They claim that the most the unions can do is to increase pressure on both companies and the government in hope that the trend will end.
By Jonathan Stapleton
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