[Sinn Fein]

25th February 2002

Pensions failing part-time workers

Sinn Fein Mid Ulster MLA John Kelly has raised the issue of pension rights for part-time workers.

Mr Kelly said:

``Today we are seeing the collapse of pensions. Company pension are increasingly devalued. State pensions are disappearing. Personal pensions are the disaster story of the 1990s and stakeholder pensions are going nowhere. The situation is much worse for part-time workers.

``Increasingly as the dynamics of the workplace change more and more people are becoming part-time workers. These people have practically no pension rights. Employers who are reaping the benefits of a part-time workforce have no any responsibility to contribute to part-time pensions.

``The results will be catastrophic for decades to come. As a society we are consigning people to the rubbish heap when they retire. These are people who have paid taxes and national insurance contributions.

``There is a responsibility to provide for people in their retirement years. British dogma places the responsibility entirely on the individual. But increasingly the individual is not in a position to ensure adequate provision. This ultimately costs the public purse either in terms of increasing ill health among the elderly or increased pressure on social services.

``The State is steadily withdrawing from providing adequate pension provision. Business has also abdicated its responsibilities. Business shoulders one of the lowest levels of social costs anywhere in Europe. This has been facilitated by British economic orthodoxy.

``We have a simple choice. Do we let the situation for all our pensioners, and in particular the growing numbers of people who have been part-time work, deteriorate or do act.'' ENDS

Note to Editors

The Assembly will debate a motion on the issue of pension rights for part-time workers on Tuesday 26th February brought forward by John Kelly.

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