Unite calculates that government pension proposals, like-for-like will propose worse benefits after working longer, paying in more

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Unite has accused one of the government’s lead negotiators on pensions of using misleading data to try to manipulate public opinion over its proposed cuts.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has claimed that a nurse with a full career, retiring on a salary of £34,200 would receive a pension of £22,800 a year under the proposed scheme whereas under current arrangements they would only get £17,300.

Analysis by Unite’s pensions’ experts found that this example was based on a comparison of a nurse working for 43 years and retiring at age 68 in the proposed scheme and a nurse working for 35 years and retiring at age 60 in the current scheme. So under the proposed scheme the pension quoted involves working and contributing for eight years more and receiving the pension for eight years less.

Unite calculations indicate that if a like for like basis of comparison is made, based on working to the same age and the same length of service, then the proposed scheme produces worse benefits at every age up to 68.

In addition, nurses and many other public sector workers will face a 50 per cent increase in their contributions.  For the nurse in Danny Alexander’s example, his proposed changes would cost a further £1,000 a year gross, or £65 a month after tax.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said:”Danny Alexander is using distorted figures to conceal the way in which government proposals will reduce pensions. Most NHS workers will not get a pension anywhere near this maximum full-time service example, and many will have lower pay than the qualified nurse he has focused on, but all will suffer similar proportionate losses to those he is trying to conceal. Currently the median pension received by NHS workers is only around £4,087.”

“The unions are telling the truth when we say the government wants public sector workers to pay more, work for longer and retire on less. We are prepared to negotiate using the facts. It is time the government dispensed with the dirty tricks and negotiated properly.”

Watch our video report on Unite’s campaign for a “yes” vote in the current ballot, including an inerview with Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey:


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