Work till you drop for the working class


LORD Turner, the ex-CBI boss, is proposing that workers work a number of extra years before they take the state pension. Turner says that the pensionable age should be raised to 66 by 2030, to 67 by 2040 and to ‘between 68 and 69’ by 2050.

69 years of age is the average lifespan for men in many a working class area! Turner is organising an absolutely massive bonanza for the bosses, since millions who would have received the pension at 65 will never reach the ever rising pensionable age between 2030 and 2050.

They will have paid all their lives for the state pension only to receive nothing. Turner is proposing a great pensions robbery that will see the government making Robert Maxwell look like an amateur. He is actually proposing to abolish the pension as far as millions of workers are concerned!

For those who make it to 66, 67 and then 69, having an annual pensions increase linked to average wage rises and not the government’s bogus rate of inflation will in no way compensate them for up to four years loss of pension.

In its report the Pensions Commission also proposes a National Pension Savings Scheme, which workers would be automatically enrolled into. This is being called ‘soft compulsion’.

Explaining the national pensions saving scheme (NPSS), Lord Turner said the scheme should automatically enroll all workers if they are not already in a sufficiently-backed company scheme, although they would have the right to opt out.

Under the proposed NPSS, workers would contribute four per cent of their post-tax earnings, their company an additional three per cent and the government one per cent through tax relief or credit.

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said he was ‘disappointed’ to see that employers would be expected to pay into the scheme.

The CBI predicted that companies would be forced to sack workers since they would not be able to afford the three per cent payments. Yet workers hard pressed by massive price rises and threatened with wage freeze policies by the government, are going to be made to pay up for a pension that many of them, with the retirement age rising to 69, will never see.

This latest report comes on top of the government sponsored movement to smash the final salary pensions of the public sector workers, and to force them to raise their retirement age from 60 to 65 and then to the current Turner sponsored retirement age ‘between 68 and 69’.

The trade union bureaucracy has treacherously already agreed that all new starters in the health, education and civil service sectors will not have a final salary pension and will work till they are 65.

This leaves the current staff retiring at 60 if they wish. The CBI, the ones with the massive salaries and huge pension pots, have said that this is grossly unfair, and insist that all workers in the state sector must work till the legal retirement age, currently 65 but set to rise to ‘between 68 and 69’.

Under this attack a new compromise is being mooted. This is that all of the current workforce over 50 should be allowed to go at 65, and all those under 50 should work on for between five to nine extra years.

The time has come for the working class to put an end to all of these rotten compromises. The trade union leaders must be told that the retirement age must remain where it is now.

They must also be told that the working class cannot afford any compulsory payments into a second pension, and, in fact, there should be final salary pensions for all. To achieve this the trade unions must bring down the Blair government and go forward to a workers government that will nationalise the banks under workers’ control. This will provide all of the necessary funds for decent pensions for all at an age where people will live to enjoy them.