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Warning of strikes over occupational schemes

There is a clear-cut case for striking over pensions and employers should expect workers to start walking out unless they stop closing occupational schemes, warn two of the UK&#39s biggest unions.

The call from public services union Unison and manufacturing union Amicus, which collectively represent two million UK workers, comes a week after Trades Unions Congress general secretary John Monks predicted in Money Marketing that there would be industrial strife over pensions.

At its annual conference in Blackpool, the TUC called for minimum occupational pension contributions of at least 15 per cent, with two-thirds coming from employers.

It released research showing the average stakeholder premium is just £44 a month, resulting in a pension that would be £3,000 short of an adequate retirement income.

This coincided with a survey from the CBI, also released this week, saying that up to 113 companies are considering closing their final salary schemes.

Steel firm Caparo and the ISTC union are already engaged in a series of escalating strikes over the closure of its final-salary scheme and Unison and Amicus predict that there will be further action unless things drastically improve.

Unison head of pensions Glyn Jenkins says: “I think pensions are a very legitimate reason for industrial action. I believe that members will be taking action and I think the unions will be leading the way.”

Amicus head of research Julian Richards says: “There is a definite call for action over pensions. The incidents are only going to increase. We will not take it lying down any more.”

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