Barber hits out at pensions fat cats

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber has labelled business chiefs who criticised the government for allowing public sector workers to claim their pensions at 60 as “hypocrites”.

Barber said some of the employers who have criticised the arrangement have themselves arranged to retire at the same age on bumper savings.

Under the deal agreed by trade and industry secretary Alan Johnson and unions last year, existing public sector workers will continue to work towards retirement at 60, while new staff will work until 65.

The government has come in for heavy criticism, with business leaders saying the deal betrayed a lack of ministerial courage and would be bad for economy, leaving a pensions black hole.

But Barber said directors at Britain’s 100 biggest companies have amassed pensions that would pay an average £167,000 a year compared with just £6,344 for an average worker, according to a TUC study.

“They should stop lecturing the rest of us on how we should get smaller pensions from a higher retirement age,” he told the Financial Times.

It was hypocritical for those on “luxury pensions” to then “criticise lowly paid public sector workers for expecting long-standing pension commitments to be honoured”, he added.

Barber defended the deal reached with Johnson as “a sensible compromise”.

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