LONDON: The Confederation of British Industry is all set to take on the workers as it is going to demand a raise in the retirement age in Britain in order to avert a public sector pensions crisis. The CBI’s director general Sir Digby Jones is expected to tell the Labour Party conference at Brighton that it is unfair for private sector workers and tax-paying pensioners to subsidise civil servants and council staff in retirement.
Sir Digby will ask the government to be firm with the unions and take on public pension reforms as the CBI has found that the liability on account of pensions for public sector workers has more than doubled to 500 billion pounds over a decade. Sir Digby says the public sector retirement age should be raised to 65 while the pension benefit formula should be revamped in order to make it affordable for the employers.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) too has sought a raise in the pension age. The IoD, in a report, said it should be raised to 70.
Meanwhile, the labour unions are mulling direct action. Unison, the most-represented public sector union has threatened that strikes are “on the cards”. Unison’s general secretary Dave Prentis will tell his 2 million constituents that they are facing huge cuts in their pension rights under plans put forward by the government. He will also argue that such moves will mean increasing costs for the NHS as 75 per cent of paramedics are forced to retire before the age of 60 due to ill health.
In a related development, members of the Pension Action Group will protest when chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown addresses the conference. They wish to highlight that fact that they lost most or all of their pensions when their company schemes failed and the government did not intervene.