Poll finds unions far more trusted than govt on pensions


8:20 am - November 21st 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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Trade unions were seven times more trusted than politicians on providing accurate information on pensions, a survey out today has found.

The extensive poll by Survation comes as Britain’s biggest unions gear up for the biggest strike in the country for a generation.

It found that TUs were in fact regarded as the most trusted body on whether public sector pensions were affordable, at 33% (a positive score of 4 or 5). Think-tanks came next, at 19%, while the media managed a measely figure of 13%. Politicians were trusted by 5% (excluding don’t knows).

Of those who expressed an opinion, 66% of people said a Pension was the most important benefit an employer can offer.

The poll will upset Westminster conventional wisdom that the government is winning the public relations battle against the unions.

» It also found that the public overwhlemingly believe politicians and company CEOs aren’t making enough sacrifices. 85% believe MPs are not doing enough; 86% cabinet ministers and 86% CEOs.

In contrast, only 9% thought nurses weren’t sharing the pain enough, 17% thought that of teachers and a similar number for refuse collectors.

» When asked what they felt was a reasonable pension for an employee who had worked for 25 years with a final salary of £25,000, 71% of people thought the figure should be between £10k and 20k a year. Under current public sector schemes such a person would receive around £10k a year.

» 74% felt the proposed changes to public sector pensions would make pensioner poverty worse. Only 5% thought it would improve matters.

The Survation survey was commissioned for Unite, the union.

The polling company is a member of the British Polling Council and has to abide by its rules.

Damian Lyons Lowe, chief executive of Survation said:

This survey has uncovered a highly sceptical UK workforce feeling either worried, angry or helpless about potential negative pension changes and feel that perceived well off citizens are not pulling their weight in these difficult economic times.

The Survation data can be downloaded from here.

Not all good news however. A survey by YouGov yesterday found that 52% of people opposed public sector workers going on strike over, while 35% supported it.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


I notice they didn’t ask anyone if they thought public sector pensions were fair in comparison to those in the private market, or if they were affordable.

I suspect that trades unions are more respected than all politicians on this topic, not just government.

Re: Tyler

You really think that everyone’s pension should be meagre? How mean-spirited. Surely what is needed is decent prospects for all, rather than more state subsidy when those feeble private schemes fail to keep people off benefits.

Oh, of course, in libertorian fantasy land there wouldn’t be benefits.

@1

Stop whining. If the private sector was better unionised, pensions would be better. You can thank Thatcher and her henchmen for the poor pay and conditions of private sector workers… not to mention the union-busting that takes place.

When I started working in the 70’s, I worked for a private sector company where almost every worker was in a union.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  2. Vicky

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  3. Andrew Notman

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  4. sunny hundal

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  5. Kulgan of Crydee

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  6. Ian Martin

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  8. Stew Wilson

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  9. Lawrence Shaw

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  51. malcolm

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