UK - High street banks should pay a one-off windfall tax to compensate workers who have lost their pensions through company insolvency, unions claim.
The Transport & General Workers’ Union says retrospective protection could be funded by taxing banks “enormous” profits, estimated at £50,000 per minute.
General secretary Tony Woodley – speaking during a T&G meeting in Manchester – said banks were partly responsible for the crisis.
He said: “The same banks which often push companies into bankruptcy are then at the head of the queue to get their money back, leaving workers facing the loss of pensions to look out for themselves.
He added: “A few weeks’ profit and the problem would be nearly cracked.”The British Bankers’ Association said the attack on the banking sector was misplaced.
A spokesman said: “Pen-sion funds invest heavily in bank shares. Millions of schemes, therefore, benefit from a strong banking sector through their pensions.
“Far from pushing companies into bankruptcy, banks provide an ‘intensive care’ facility to nurse companies which are undergoing financial difficulties back to health.”
The union’s attack comes as former workers at diesel engine manufacturer Lister Petter in Gloucestershire have been told they face the prospect of losing up to 90% of their pension.
The Dursley-based firm has gone into administration with the new buyers refusing to underwrite the scheme.
Unions representing the workers met with the company’s representatives and local MP David Drew, who has been representing the workers in parliament.
T&G regional industrial organiser Trevor Hall said: “This robbery of pensions cannot go on.”
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