by Don Franks
Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway today admitted to being taken aback by Labour’s election pledge to lift the pension age from sixty five to sixty seven.
“Honestly mate, I never thought they’d go one worse than National on super, but it seems they have” said Conway. “Now to rub it in here’s John Key sticking to his promise and vowing not to put the age up. How we’re going to explain that one to the lads I’m buggered if I know.”
Peter Conway agreed that Labour’s new policy would be much tougher for manual workers and for male Maori workers, whose average life expectancy is only seventy.
“It’s a kick in the teeth for workers generally and of course we can’t just lie down and accept it. No way. Over the next few days we’ll get nationwide delegates meetings together to nut out how we can best resist and defeat this unexpected attack.”
The CTU secretary stressed that there was no way the working class should be expected to pick up the tab for the country’s aging population.
“All the spin about Kiwisaver and consultation is just bosses talk to fob us off with the shitty end of the stick” said Peter. “The fact is Phil Goff’s fluffed his lolly big time and we won’t be wearing it.”
The Council of Trade Unions says that the savings policy announced by the Labour Party is bold and establishes clear points of difference with the National Party.
Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, said that “The increase in the qualifying age for NZ Super will be a challenging issue for unions to work through. We recognise that we must face up to serious savings issues and that we have an ageing population. But there will also be concerns, particularly among manual workers”.
Peter Conway said that the long phase in period, promise of consultation, transitional payments for those that need it from age 65 years and the ramping up of workplace savings via KiwiSaver will satisfy the concerns of many.
“But we will need to discuss this policy in considerable detail with workers and employers.”
(NZCTU press release 26/10/2011)