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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 18:59 GMT
Workers step up pensions campaign
Public service workers launched a pensions campaign
Public sector workers in Scotland have staged events in their campaign to protect pension rights.

They also distributed leaflets in cities as part of an effort to stop plans to raise their retirement age from 60 to 65.

Events included a demonstration in Glasgow and leaflet campaigns in Aberdeen and Inverness.

About 200 people attended the rally and said they wanted final salary pensions safeguarded.

A letter has also been delivered to the Scottish Secretary Alistair Darling in Edinburgh.

People are going to have to work longer and at the end of it your pension is going to be less
Public sector worker

About 27% of Scottish workers are employed in public services and leaders of the Scottish TUC have backed the show of strength.

Bill Spiers, STUC general secretary, said proper pensions are an integral part of public service contracts, and the reason why many workers do not opt for more lucrative opportunities in the private sector.

Speaking at the demonstration in Glasgow, Unison convener Mike Kirby called for people to lobby MPs in the run-up to the general election.

He said: "As the election approaches, there is an option available to us.

Election call

"Across the 10 former constituencies in Glasgow, live something like 77,000 civil and public servants.

"In six of those 10 constituencies, those votes could swing the majority and the result in the election, if it is held in May.

"I suggest you take that to your MP over the next week and see if that concentrates their minds."

One concerned public sector worker said: "People are going to have to work longer and at the end of it your pension is going to be less."

Another woman said she wanted to retire at "a decent age" like other workers have in the past.

Several unions plan to stage a one-day strike next month.

We have a responsibility to ensure that we're able to deliver for these public sector workers in their increasingly long retirement
David Milliband
Civil Service minister

Public service union Unison delivered Valentine's cards to all Scottish MPs and MSPs earlier this week, urging them to defend public service pensions.

The UK Government is reviewing a range of public service pension schemes, including the local government scheme, civil service scheme and NHS scheme.

Unison said staff rights are being eroded because of the proposed change to the retirement age.

However, UK Civil Service Minister David Milliband defended the government's position.

He said: "We all know that everyone is living longer, so people can expect to live 20 or 30 years in retirement.

"These were (pension) schemes that were designed when people lived maybe 10 years in retirement.

"So we have a responsibility to ensure that we're able to deliver for these public sector workers in their increasingly long retirement."




SEE ALSO:
Love cards contain pensions plea
14 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Financial contacts - Pensions
24 Jan 05 |  Business


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