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&#39Government is new Maxwell on pensions&#39

The TUC this week accused the Government of behaving like Robert Maxwell over its handling of the pension crisis and called for a concerted campaign against No 10 until the situation has been resolved.

At the TUC annual congress in Brighton this week, Association of Teachers and Lecturers deputy general secretary Gerald Imison said the Government had failed to learn the lessons from Maxwell by playing with public sector pension funds as though they were Government property.

The TUC is calling for a united front against the Government, including public and private sector unions, the pensioners&#39 movement, a national demonstration and possible strike action.

Union members are also laying blame at the door of employers, with Transport and General Workers&#39 Union general secretary Tony Woodley launching a scathing attack on employers, claiming “naked, shameless robbery by the fat cats” who he believes have stolen £19bn from pension funds.

TUC demands are relatively unchanged since last year, with calls for compulsory employer contributions of at least 10 per cent. However, union bosses say they intend to increase the pressure in the coming months.

Woodley said: “We must stop complaining and start campaigning. If the Government can find billions of pounds for an illegal war, they can find billions of pounds for pensions.”

Public and Commercial Services Union general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “If we cannot secure an agreed way forward, we need a day of action as part of a sustained campaign linking up with our European counterparts.”

Imison says: “The Government has to accept that there is a pension crisis and that it is crucial to find a solution if the financial burden of retired people on the state is not to spiral out of control.”

A Treasury spokesman says: “We take these issues very seriously. This is why we are bringing in pension protection from the Pensions Green Paper.”

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