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TUC to give pension plans ‘public’ battering

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The Trades Union Congress (TUC) have earmarked 18 February as a day of campaigning against Government plans to reform public sector workers’ pensions.

In 2002 the Government published its Pensions Green Paper which sought to raise retirement ages in the public sector from 60 to 65, and to increase the age at which people could take early retirement from 50 to 55.

The unions say the changes are neither fair nor justified.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “This issue is not going to go away. Unions and their members are very angry at the changes the Government is proposing. There is enormous concern at the impact these proposals will have upon the lives of millions of public sector workers. We are determined to keep up the pressure on the Government.”

Just this week, plans were announced to slash final salary pensions for doctors working in the NHS. HRZone reported that more than a million staff will see their pensions changed. It is thought the reforms could result in a £20,000 a year loss in pension payments for senior doctors, who are thought to be hardest hit.

The news will also sour campaigning activity by Pensions Minister, Malcolm Wicks who has urged workers to make planning for retirement a priority in 2005.

In further evidence that Brits have no confidence in provisions, recent findings by the Government, show that approximately 4.5 million are turning their back on company pension schemes.

Malcolm Wicks said:

“Millions of people, particularly young people, are not paying into a pension scheme, even when they have access to a company scheme where the employer also contributes. Missing out on an employer contribution is much like turning down a pay rise.”

Last year the Adair Turner report revealed that workers need to save £57 billion more a year to plug the pensions gap.

The campaign day to be held on 18 February will be co-ordinated by the TUC and will include local rallies and other campaigning events designed to put pressure on local constituency MPs.

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