LORD McFall, who has been examining private sector pension schemes, has concluded in his Workplace Retirement Income Commission review, that workers on private pensions will have a ‘bleak old age’.
His review spells out that he is talking about up to nine million people living in poverty for the last decades of their lives.
He describes critical problems in the current system, which was ‘complex, costly and inefficient’, and chided people for not saving enough in preparation for their retirement years.
‘Tell that to the bankers!’ many of the nine million will respond. The bankers’ system has collapsed and is still collapsing, yet they have flourished out of state aid and state subsidies, and are currently enjoying huge pensions pots, very early retirement and an old age of one long holiday.
Lord McFall, the former chairman of the Treasury Committee, was commissioned to investigate the state of the sector by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) and he has produced a report that will please his employers.
The blame for the pensions crisis is once again put onto the people, who are outrageously living longer – due to the Welfare State, no doubt.
Changes being introduced in 2012 will see workers automatically enrolled into a pension scheme, unless they earn a very low wage or opt out themselves.
The review said that the government should consider increasing the minimum amount that is contributed by these workers, making them poorer.
In fact, the decline and fall of the private pension for workers is an essential product of the collapse of the banks and the huge financial and economic crisis of the capitalist system.
While the bankers have been subsidised by the state the workers on private pensions have been subjected to a huge attack that has seen their final salary pension schemes squashed in favour of a lesser pension which provides only for a ‘bleak future’.
The battles are still raging.
One of these is at GE (General Electric), where the Unite trade union has demanded that GE, the world’s largest aircraft engine manufacturer, does not close its final salary pension scheme.
Unite is refusing to rule out industrial action.
Unite, which represents thousands of GE employees in the UK, has submitted a formal response to a consultation exercise GE is running on their proposals.
Unite states that GE is a hugely successful global company which last year made a profit of $14.2 billion. Its five most senior executives pocketed a massive $76 million in benefits between them, including $24.5 million in pension payments.’
It’s the old, old story: one rule for the ruling class and its servants and quite another rule for the working class.
Public sector pensions are also under attack. The Tory propaganda line is that while private pensions have collapsed, the public sector is riding high and must be levelled downwards.
Once again it is the crisis of capitalism that is the driving force.
It has created the situation where the relatively small public sector pensions enjoyed by millions of workers are said to be ‘parasitic’ which the country cannot afford any longer and accordingly they must go.
The basic fact is that it is the crisis of capitalism that is threatening both private and public pensioners with poverty retirement, while rewarding the bosses with state-funded luxury.
This situation means that the trade unions must organise joint strike action to defend public and private pensions this autumn. This must be the preparation for an indefinite general strike to bring down the coalition, and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and the bankers to provide good pensions for everybody.