National conference hears calls to unite public and private sectors over pensions
23 May 2012
Calls to unite the public and private sectors in a campaign for fair pensions topped the agenda at the start of Prospect's national conference yesterday.
Five hundred delegates in Bournemouth backed a motion from the national executive warning that the main divide in pension provision today was between those with an occupational pension and those without.
And they carried a demand from the Health and Safety Executive branch rejecting the 'divide and rule' tactics used by the government to undermine pensions in both the public and private sectors of the economy.
NEC speaker David Simpson said the arrival of auto-enrolment later this year would be the first chance for many workers to save into an occupational scheme. He argued there was a key role here for Prospect to maximise opportunities for members and to extend the union's influence and membership.
Moving the HSE motion, Simon Hester made a powerful plea for Prospect to work with other trade unions and pensioner organisations to defeat the government's 'race to the bottom' on pensions.
This would be necessary, he warned, as the coalition's attack on public sector pensions was not over and increases in state pension age and higher pension contributions would continue to be imposed.
He was backed by delegates from Ordnance Survey and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, who urged the executive to challenge the government and seek the best pension terms possible for members.
Other motions carried by conference:
- called on Prospect to give clear guidance to members on the ongoing talks over the local government pension scheme (Environment Agency)
- stressed the importance of pensions as an issue for young members personally, as well as for the long-term health of pension schemes (Scottish Government)
- instructed the NEC to press employers to provide clear and accurate information to members in explanatory booklets on their schemes (Connect Greater London East and Essex).