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Friday, 28 June, 2002, 06:01 GMT 07:01 UK
Steelworkers begin action over pensions
Steel works
Steel workers: Set to begin overtime ban
Steelworkers in Scunthorpe are set to begin an overtime ban in protest at a downgrading of their pension scheme.

The overtime ban is believed to be the first industrial action in Britain mounted over the pensions issue.

Workers belonging to the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation (ISTC) are taking action at the Caparo Merchant Bar factory in Scunthorpe.

"It is outrageous that a company claiming to be committed to partnership, transferred ownership of its pension scheme into the hands of trustees before they even met us to discuss our concerns," said Michael Leahy, the union's general secretary.

The closure of the more secure final salary schemes at many companies, and their replacement by less secure defined contribution schemes, has generated widespread concern about future retirement provision.

Mr Leahy said he would urge workers to take industrial action wherever financial salary pension schemes were threatened.

Industrial action at plants run by Caparo Group is designed to highlight the problem, and the workers have not ruled out strike action.

Union members at the group's plants in South Wales are also expected to protest at the decision to introduce a new pensions scheme linked to the ups and downs of the stock market.

The union says members will face the prospect of a much reduced income, after years of service.

The steelworkers' action on Friday coincides with a further warning that Britons will need to save more, or work longer, to secure a reasonable retirement income.

Pension worries

Research from the pension consultancy Hewitt, Bacon and Woodrow revealed that many people have yet to wake up to the potential problems ahead.

More than half of people surveyed said they were not concerned about their retirement income.

This represents a dangerous complacency, the firm said.

Of respondents who said they were concerned, more than three quarters said they were prepared to increase their savings or pension contribution.

But only 22% were prepared to contemplate working full time to the age of 70.

The survey also suggested that younger people (aged 16-44) were more willing to raise their pension contributions that those in the 45-55 year age range.

Hewitt, Bacon and Woodrow concluded that workers must rapidly increase their pension payments, or be ready to work beyond the official retirement age, if they are to avoid a major shortfall in their retirement provision.

Michael Pomery, an associate at the firm, said: "Whilst it is encouraging that many people understand that sacrifices will have to be made in order to provide satisfactory retirement incomes, this needs to be translated into action."


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27 Jun 02 | UK Politics
08 Mar 02 | Business
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