Survey asked voters who they believed would provide accurate information on the affordability of public sector pensions, also found well off citizens “not pulling their weight” during recession


A survey has found that trade unions are the most trusted body when it comes to providing accurate information on the affordability of public sector pensions.

33% of those asked rated unions most highly. The government scored just 9%; politicians in general were rated at just 5%, with business leaders on 13%. It makes unions seven times more trusted on the issue than politicians.

The results come as more than two dozen unions across the UK are preparing for strike action on the 30th of November in opposition to government proposals to slash pensions provision across the public sector.

The poll, conducted by Survnation for the Unite union found that 99% of respondents do not fully trust the government on the issue.

Alarmingly for ministers, this figure includes 99% of people who voted Conservative in the last election.  The Tory-supporting blog, ConservativeHome describes the results as “worth considering” and says the Coalition “faces an uphill battle” to win support for public sector pension reform.

Welcoming the results of the survey, Unite’s General Secretary Len McCluskey said it: “explodes the myths being peddled by the coalition government about public sector pensions. Virtually nobody thinks public sector pensions are ‘gold plated’ and the government are thoroughly mistrusted on this issue.

“When the British people get the facts rather than misinformation and propaganda, they are on the side of public sector workers. The government’s plans to slash public sector pensions are not what the people of this country want for the women and men who care for our sick, teach our children and keep our streets safe.  It is time for Francis Maude and Danny Alexander to negotiate a just and fair settlement with the unions on pensions.”

The poll also examined opinions on taking industrial action to defend public sector pensions.

71% of those polled said they would take some sort of action – 40% of them would consider unlawful industrial action if necessary. 5% believed legal action is the right response to those in charge of a pension scheme changing the terms of the agreement. 46% would leave the scheme if the government increased the contribution rates and cut the pension benefits.

The group carrying out the survey says it was surprised by just how “striking” the results are.

Damian Lyons Lowe of Survation said: “The slogan “We Are The 99%” has become a rallying cry for many disparate groups angry at Governments across the world. An incredible 99% of the 1058 voters we questioned do not fully trust the Government when it comes to the issue of pension affordability. This survey also uncovers a highly sceptical workforce feeling either worried, angry or helpless about potential negative pension changes and feel that perceived well off citizens are not pulling their weight in these difficult economic times.”

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