UK - Employers have attacked plans which would force them to match government payments to scheme members who lost pension benefits when their firms failed.
The plan – outlined at the Labour Party’s national policy forum – includes forcing employers to match government contributions to the new financial assistance package.
Employers would be forced to pay £400m over 20 years to compensate workers who had lost their pensions through company insolvency.Labour’s policy forum also believes scheme members should be able to take part in collective bargaining over their benefits and have a greater presence on trustee boards.
The Confederation of British Industry is “strongly opposed” to the measures.
Senior policy officer Jay Sheth (pictured) said: “We support this initiative but it is the government’s initiative and business should not be forced to contribute to it.
“Employers operating DB schemes are already suffering under increases in costs and risk. Any additional financial burden would weaken the climate for occupational provision further and that is very undesirable.”
Engineering Employers’ Federation deputy director of employment policy David Yeandle agreed: “We know that the government has been making all sorts of noises about contributions from industry and we are extremely concerned about that.
“I have asked peers to table an amendment to the Pensions Bill to make it clear the costs of the financial assistance scheme will be met in full by the Chancellor, not industry.”
Employers are also concerned about plans that will make pensions part of collective bargaining issues.
However, Transport & General Workers’ Union general secretary Tony Woodley told delegates at the forum the policies would provide “better pensions protection” and boost employment rights.
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