UNISON warns of benefits timebomb over pensions

by - 27th October 2011, 15.22 BST

UNISON has warned of a benefits timebomb waiting to explode over pensions.

A survey released today by the Office of National Statistics reveals that not enough people are saving for their later years, with the real pensions crisis in the private sector – where membership of schemes has fallen sharply in the last decade.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This survey shows just how few private sector workers are saving for their retirement. But for top bosses in the private sector, it is a different story. They award themselves generous pensions with low retirement ages, but shut their schemes to staff – leaving them facing poverty in their later years, with the only lifeline – means tested benefits.

“Even though this will cost taxpayers billions, it is used to attack pensions rights in the public sector. These pensions commentators come with a health warning. Their efforts to pit public against private sector worker will spark a race to the bottom, with poverty in retirement for all being the ultimate destination. What our country really needs is a decent pensions deal for all workers.

UNISON is campaigning for the pensions rights of people in the public and private sector – all workers should be able to save for dignity in their retirement.”

UNISON is balloting more than 1.1 million members across the country – and nearly 100,000 in London – for industrial action over government ministers’ unnecessary plans to make them work longer, pay more and get less in their retirement.