Monday, 2 June 2008

There's votes in pensions says Unite

Just a lift from the Unite website. Not sure if we haven't missed the boat somewhat in terms of making pensions a campaigning issue. The Government doesn't have a bad record overall, despite the "£5bn a year tax raid" arguments regularly trotted out against it. But The good bits - PPF, FAS, clearing up the mis-selling scandal etc - aren't easy ones to play. And it's too early to claim anything in respect of Personal Accounts.

New survey reveals that votes can be won or lost on pensions

Unite, Britain's biggest union is urging the Government to act to make occupational pension schemes compulsory, as a survey of voters in key marginal seats reveals that action on pensions will influence their voting preferences in the next general election.

In a survey of constituents in the twenty most marginal Labour seats in the UK, conducted on behalf of Unite, half of those surveyed stated that action by a political party to protect occupational pension schemes would influence their voting intentions. 34% of voters in these critical constituencies have yet to decide which party best represents their interests.

The survey also revealed that 83% of respondents said they would support Government action to increase the spread of occupational pensions and 78% believed that pensions have not been high enough on the Government's agenda.

65% believed that striking to protect pensions was justified and 55% reported that they would be prepared to take strike action to protect their own pension. 78% considered pensions to be an essential part of wages. The survey was conducted immediately following the high profile dispute with Ineos over pensions. The results of the survey indicates that the majority of the general public believed the action of Ineos workers was justifiable.

Derek Simpson, Unite Joint General Secretary says,

"Pensions are an electoral issue and votes can be won or lost depending if Labour chooses to act or not to act. This survey reveals that Labour can win the next general election but only if they work hard to re-connect with working people's real concerns. In key marginal seats, voters say that the protection and extension of occupational pensions would be an electoral asset. The CBI don't want it but they don't vote Labour anyway."

"Recently 1,200 workers at Ineos' petro-chemical site in Scotland took strike action over plans to end the final salary pension scheme for new entrants. Encouragingly voters overwhelmingly support workers taking action to protect their pension scheme and the majority are prepared to take strike action themselves. This is a clear indication that the public believed the action that Ineos workers took to protect their pension scheme was justifiable."

The survey also revealed that a significant 40% of respondents did not have an occupational pension scheme but 76% believed that employees should receive a final salary pension scheme.

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