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Date: Friday 27 February 2009

Real pension divide is between bosses and staff - UNISON

In the wake of the news that Fred Goodwin has already started drawing a pension of 650k per year, UNISON - Scotland's public service union - says that this highlights the real pensions divide in the UK economy.

A briefing by the union issued today (27 February), summarises information from the Pensions Policy Institute, the National Association for Pensions Funds and the TUC to point out that the majority of company directors can retire at 60, with a final salary pension 25 times higher than the national average which they accrue twice as fast as both their workforce and the public sector workforce.

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser, said "This information from independent sources, shows that those with the real gold-plated pensions are private sector directors. The very people who are leading the clamour to attack the pensions of low-paid, hard working public service staff. Fred Goodwin's pension is simply one example - the top directors in FTSE 100 companies averaged a pension of 333,664 p.a. in 2008 - and this figure has gone up by 4% since the previous year."

In addition - despite the manipulated statistics put out by organisations like the Taxpayers Alliance - public sector workers tend to pay more into their pension than private sector staff, and accrue their pension at the same rate as staff in the private sector. However the pension for new entrants to public sector pensions is only similar to a medium private sector final salary scheme.

Dave Watson said "The Taxpayers Alliance, and other private sector-sponsored campaign groups again spit their vitriol against public service workers. For example, local government workers like classroom assistants, home carers, social workers, refuse collectors, and dinner ladies, contribute all their working lives to gain a pension that averages just 3,800 pa, yet the Taxpayer's Alliance, would apparently prefer them to have that pension cut and force them to rely on state benefits."

"They would be better employed directing their firepower at the real gold-plated pensioners. Big business bosses who award themselves generous pensions while closing decent schemes for their staff. But they won't of course, because this would be biting the hand that feeds them."

ENDS

Note for editors: The briefing from UNISONScotland is available from either contact below, or on the Scottish website - www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/198pensionsupdate.pdf

For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m) Index