Prime Minister plays Fagin over Pensions

11 February 2015

David Cameron has been accused of playing Fagin with an underhand raid on rail staff pensions, the four rail unions said today. ASLEF, the RMT, the TSSA and Unite issued a combined warning that more than 100,000 staff and pensioners will suffer losses under the proposals from the Tory-Lib Dem coalition.

‘The government, once again, is raiding workers’ pensions to fund tax cuts for the rich,’ said the four general secretaries – Mick Whelan of ASLEF, Mick Cash of the RMT, Manuel Cortes of the TSSA, and Len McCluskey of Unite – in a joint statement.

As part of its austerity agenda, the government is proposing wide ranging changes to the state pension – and not just to the age of retirement. This time David Cameron and George Osborne are picking the pockets of the occupational pension schemes. The government has passed legislation that ends pension contracting out from 6 April 2016, when the new single tier state pension comes into operation. Where schemes such as the Railway Pension Scheme are currently contracted out, this will mean an increase in both employers’ and members’ National Insurance contributions from that date.

The Tories have given the employers a statutory override to simply dip into workers’ occupational pension schemes to pay the increased National Insurance bill – without reference to the pensions’ trustees or scheme rules. They are protecting the rail companies’ profits by raiding rail workers pensions.

Union leaders pledged today:‘We are not going to stand idly by and watch our pensions being plundered to fund their private profits.’

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