Welcome to my Blog

I was the Head of Policy and Public Affairs at UNISON Scotland until my retirement in September 2018. I now work on several policy development projects, so all views are very definitely my own. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

1000 council workers to fund one fat cat pension

The hypocrisy of top bosses is highlighted by the TUC's annual Pensions Watch survey. The  average pension pot for a FTSE 100 director increased by £400,000 last year to £4.73m - with one director alone amassing a huge pension pot worth £22.2m.

I was reminded of a TV interview earlier this week when the fat cats union, the CBI, were responding to calls for expanding the Living Wage. He solemnly lectured that these are hard times for all of us. Well self evidently they are not for his members. The UK's top bosses continue to enjoy platinum-plated pensions, with most still able to retire at 60. The average accrued pension is 25 times the average employee occupational pension £10,452 a year. Of course, these are the same fat cats who lectured us about 'gold plated' public sector pensions

The latest PensionsWatch findings show that rather than exercising restraint on their remuneration packages, Britain's top bosses are simply finding new ways of rewarding themselves. As pensions don't even bother with pretence of performance-related, there is no justification for this growing pensions divide. Private sector companies should follow the lead of the public sector and ensure that all staff are entitled to the same pension terms and conditions, irrespective of their seniority.

With millions of people joining workplace pension schemes over the next few years through auto-enrolment this divide will come under ever closer scrutiny. It's time companies created a level playing field when it comes to their pension schemes.

I find this hypocrisy particularly galling at present as I am spending much of my time renegotiating the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme. Not because it needed any renegotiation, but because the UK Government decided to interfere in Scottish pensions on the back of the gold plated campaign by these hypocrites. Lets also not forget that Nick Clegg was one of those shouting about gold-plated pensions. 

The changes I am negotiating all have to be cost neutral. No prospect of a £400k increase in total let alone for one person. The average pension in payment in Scottish local government is £4700 - barely bronze plated. That means it takes 1,000 council workers pensions per year to fund the pension pot of one fat cat.

If you need any further example of how unequal our society has become - look no further than pensions.

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