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International Women's Day 2022: Usdaw continues the campaign for equality, with a focus on closing the pension gap

Date: 08 March 2022 Usdaw is marking today’s International Women’s Day (IWD22) by continuing to campaign for equality and to keeping women’s equality high on the union’s negotiating, organising and political agendas. This year the Usdaw theme for IWD22 is focussed on pension inequality.
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “On International Women’s Day we celebrate women’s contribution to society, family life and workplaces. We also continue our all year round campaigning for more to be done to better support women by tackling discrimination and promoting equality.
“The introduction of auto enrolment ten years ago has led to equal numbers of men and women now starting to save adequately for their retirement. However, despite this huge improvement, the actual amount saved by men is still significantly more and this is largely because women often receive less pay than their male counterparts.
“That’s one of the reasons Usdaw’s ‘New Deal for Workers’ campaign calls on the Government to provide fair treatment and equality for all workers. The majority of front line workers are women and they deserve decent pay, which will go some way towards reducing the pension gap.
“However, Usdaw believes that automatic enrolment reform could make a difference to the pension issues women face. Our ideas are not exhaustive, for example other reforms could help to ensure that women who are more reliant on their partner’s savings for retirement get a fair share if the relationship breaks down and ends in divorce.
“Usdaw is committed to campaigning and supporting our members, along with our workplace reps raising pension awareness and encouraging conversations around money and planning for the future. Our campaigning also seeks to tackle the deep rooted inequalities in society.”
Usdaw has called on the Government to:
  • reduce the minimum age for workers to be enrolled into a pension scheme from 22 to 18, to encourage early saving for retirement.
  • scrap the current earnings threshold of £10,000, to help low-paid, part-time and multiple job workers to get on the first rung of the savings ladder.
  • gradually increase the current minimum contribution rate of 8%, to avoid the UK becoming a nation of poor pensioners. 
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
Usdaw’s Pensions Awareness Campaign: https://www.usdaw.org.uk/Help-Advice/Pensions/Pension-Awareness-Campaign
New Deal for Workers campaign: https://www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/A-New-Deal-for-Workers
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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