Sunday, June 26, 2011

UNISON NDC 2011: Protect our Pensions Fringe

On Tuesday lunch time there was a very well attended fringe on "Protecting our Pensions".  It was chaired by NEC member Steve Warwick, Roz Norman (Health service Group), Glyn Jenkins (UNISON Head of pensions)and Mo Baines (LGPS Pension rep). 
I missed the beginning.

In the Q&A I asked whether or not the true cost of past employer contribution holidays and lower than needed contributions had ever been calculated by the unions? If employers had always paid what they should have paid, what would our schemes look like now? 

I had been to a conference recently were it was asserted by a well known financial figure that £50 billion pounds had been taken (stolen says I ?) from final salary schemes due to past contribution holidays and reductions. Glyn responded by say thing he thought such a figure seemed plausible but he knows that for many years - employers paid far, fair less into schemes than employees.

My argument is of course that if the employers had paid in the traditional 10-12% of earnings into occupational pensions schemes every year for the past 30 years then things would look very different in the pension world than they do now. 

In other words many pension scheme members face now being Robert Maxwelled (aka robbed) due to the past misappropriation (theft?) of contributions?
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