Work till you drop! – Capitalism’s programme for the elderly

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CAPITALISM is truly on the rocks!

Unemployment is already heading for three million, of which the majority of the unemployed will be aged between 16 and 24.

Now forward comes the Pensions Regulator, David Norgrove, to insist that such is the crisis, people (men and women) will have to work until they are seventy, thereby depriving even more young people of the right to work!

As well, the average lifespan of a male worker in cities and town like Glasgow is 68. Therefore the vast majority of workers in these cities will be paying through the nose for a pension of which they will never receive even a single penny.

Further, as the standard of living falls, as it is doing right now because of wage cuts, job cuts, price rises and the deterioration in NHS treatment that the privatisation drive is bringing, the average lifespan will fall with it – except for the bankers and capitalists of course.

This means that the number of people in the working class and the middle class, who will never get to the pensionable age will grow greater and greater.

What this latest plan will mean, if it is ever realised, is the abolition of the state pension for ever larger numbers of people.

The position at the moment is that by 2010 the pensionable age for women will have been increased from 60 to 65, and by 2046 the pensionable age for both sexes will be 68.

Increasing it to 70 means adding 10 working years onto a woman’s life, and five onto a man’s, except, once again, if you are a banker or a boss retiring at between 50 and 55 years of age with a very large pension pot to keep the wolf from the door.

Keeping the state pension at 65, or reducing it to 60, to provide more jobs for youth is vital for all workers, including those who augment the inadequate state pension with a private occupational pension.

The reason is that, both in the public and private sectors, the bosses and the government are ruthlessly abolishing final salary pension schemes and bringing in very much inferior defined pensions, which offer retirement from age 65, not at the 60 years commonly associated with final salary pensions, on a much smaller pension.

Last week, figures showed that Britain’s 100 biggest companies listed in the FTSE 100 index have a combined deficit of £96 billion, more than double the £41 billion deficit a year ago, while there was surplus of £12bn in the same month of 2007.

Only three of the top 100 firms now offer final salary schemes. Only one of the top 100 companies – BP – still offers a final salary pension scheme to new members, although it has announced that it intends to close it.

Currently, workers at Barclays are to be balloted for strike action over the closure of its final-salary pension scheme to existing members.

Barclays’ workers are so incensed at the proposals that in a consultative vote, 92% of staff said they wanted to be balloted on industrial action.

All workers, including those with collapsing occupational pensions, need a viable state pension.

Living a comfortable life in retirement cannot be allowed to become the preserve of the rich, namely the bankers and bosses, who are currently being rescued from the crisis of their own capitalist system at a cost, so far, of £1.2 trillion.

The future of all working people, both young and old, the unemployed and the employed, depends on getting rid of the crisis-ridden capitalist system, and replacing it with a socialist planned economy, in which production will be planned to satisfy people’s needs.

Capitalism and its pensions crisis do not need regulation, they need abolition through a socialist revolution that will see the banks and the major industries expropriated and put under workers’ control.