UK - UK workers are prepared to take strike action to stem the closure of defined benefit schemes, claims a survey by the UK’s largest private sector union, Amicus. According to Amicus, a typical defined contribution scheme generates 40% less at age 60 than a similar defined benefit scheme.

The report finds that an 99% of Amicus’s 425,000 members consider DB schemes to be the only means of guaranteeing adequate retirement provision and as such, 90% are willing to strike if their employers attempt to change the structure of their plans or reduce the contributions.

More than eight out of ten of the union’s members believe employers are targeting pensions as the main area in which to cut costs, while 97% feel that future generations will have inferior pension arrangements and may find themselves working much longer or having to take out “risky” private schemes.

Speaking at the union’s annual conference recently, Roger Lyons, Amicus general secretary said pensions were now the main area of industrial debate. “In this era of low inflation and mass redundancies, pensions have replaced pay as the main area of industrial conflict,” he said.

Amicus has called on the government to protect pension schemes by making them a compulsory element in employment contracts and by ensuring that contracts have full union recognition and approval.

A spokeswoman for the UK’s union representative body, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), declined to comment on the threat of strike action but said the TUC was preparing its own report on the state of DB pensions that it intended handing to the government at the TUC’s annual conference later this year.