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Date Mon 8 August 2011

Huge gap in private sector pensions – UNISON response

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, called for pension fairness, as a study by the High Pay Commission revealed a huge inequality between the value of, and access to, pensions in the private sector.

The study, out today (8 Aug), revealed that 97% of FTSE 350 company executive directors have a company-backed pension - compared to just one third of UK private sector workers. This means nearly 15 million private sector workers do not have access to a scheme to which their employer contributes.

The average FTSE 100 lead executive with a final salary pension could expect to receive nearly £175,000 - completely dwarfing the £6,000 pension those private sector workers who are in a scheme can hope to receive.

Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said: “This study shows just how unfair pensions provision is in this country. At the top of companies, nearly all directors have access to a pension to which their employer contributes. When they do retire, they’ll get a six figure pension.

“Then at the bottom, two thirds of workers do not have a pension that their employer pays into. And the so-called ‘lucky’ ones that do will only get £6,000 a year when they retire.

“Many of the most vocal critics of public sector pensions are the same company directors who are set to retire on a fortune. This is rank hypocrisy - employers need to understand the importance of decent pensions.

“For all the private companies, who shirk their responsibilities to provide their workers with decent pension, it only increases the burden on the taxpayer.

“The taxpayer ends up paying more in means tested benefits, and in increased take up of health and social care services.”

ends

UNISON UK Press release http://www.unison.org.uk/asppresspack/pressrelease_view.asp?id=2399

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