Amicus-AEEU

Amicus-AEEU

May 25, 2006 08:06 ET

Amicus celebrates pensions victory

LONDON, ENGLAND--(CCNMatthews - May 25, 2006) - Amicus union is hailing the Pensions White Paper as a victory for working people with many of the proposals going a long way to meeting the union's expectations.

- the introduction of compulsory contributions from employers,
- the restoration of the link between wages and the state pension,
- reform of the national insurance contributions rules to facilitate more women qualifying for a state pension
- and the extension of the Government's Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS).

Amicus has been campaigning for pensions justice for the past three and a half years. Many of the proposals are positive steps in the right direction.

Amicus General Secretary, Derek Simpson says,

"The Government's Pensions White Paper represents a victory for working people. Amicus has led the campaign for pensions justice and the Government has listened to many of our demands. There is still more work to be done to ensure compulsory pensions contributions are stepped up over time to stop employers levelling down their contributions. The union will continue to campaign to ensure all employee's pensions should be protected in the event of their employer becoming insolvent."

"Amicus has campaigned for over three years for pensions justice and we have met with considerable opposition from employers and their representatives. The Government must be congratulated for what is a significant step forward and a victory for ordinary men and women."

"Amicus is disappointed that the Government has chosen to raise the retirement age. Whilst we understand the sums the reality is that raising the retirement age will hit the working classes the hardest. We believe the Government should revisit this issue taking into consideration the lower life expectancy of low earners."

Amicus campaigned for compulsory pensions contributions from employers. The union's demands were met with considerable opposition from employers who have ferociously lobbied the Government to shirk their pensions responsibilities to employees. Despite employer opposition the Government is to introduce employer and employee compulsion.

The increase in funding for the Government's Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) to the tune of GBP2.5bn is a considerable victory for the union. Amicus led the campaign to secure the scheme and the FAS will now cover employees who are 15 years from retirement. The union will continue to campaign for all employees to be protected in the event of their employer becoming insolvent.

The restoration of the earnings link has been a key demand from the union for many years.

Amicus has argued consistently for reform of National Insurance Contributions to facilitate more women qualifying for a state pension.

Amicus also ensured that employers are required to consult with unions over pensions changes. The requirement was implemented in April of this year as part of the Pensions Act 2004.

Notes to Editors

Amicus General Secretary Derek Simpson will be available for interview on Thursday 25th May.

See http://www.amicustheunion.org/Default.aspx?page=3928 for previous press releases demonstrating the union's leadership on pensions and the significant progress the union has ensured through its three and a half year campaign.