CBI says strikes will not fix pension woes

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The Independent Online

Digby Jones, the director general of the CBI, will hit back today at threats from the TUC that its members are willing to strike over pensions if employers do not begin to take a more responsible attitude to their employees' retirement.

Digby Jones, the director general of the CBI, will hit back today at threats from the TUC that its members are willing to strike over pensions if employers do not begin to take a more responsible attitude to their employees' retirement.

Speaking alongside Brendan Barber, the TUC's general secretary, at the National Association of Pension Funds' annual conference in Glasgow today, Mr Jones will say that while he sympathises with employees' frustration over pensions, the situation will not be helped by striking.

"Union leaders are mistaken if they think the answer to those problems is to go on strike. Not only will that make things worse, it will damage retirement provision for the very people they are paid to protect," he will say.

Mr Jones' comments will be in response to Mr Barber's speech to the conference earlier today, which was leaked to the press last weekend. Mr Barber will say that employees are not willing to "meekly accept a cut in their pension rights", criticising the "too many" firms which will no longer commit to good pension provision.

"When there is no will by the employer to save a scheme then unions are prepared to take action," he will say. "We have already seen industrial action. More is currently threatened. And if more attempts to cut pensions are made, then the inevitable result will be further industrial action."

The TUC is to hold a rally in London on 19 June, to demonstrate against the Government's failure to address the many problems in the pensions sector.

Mr Jones will also announce today the publication of a new set of guidelines, compiled by the CBI's pensions strategy group, "to help firms with tough choices" over pensions.

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