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Directors of the UKs top 100 companies collect an average pension worth nearly £3 million, more than 24 times that of the average occupational pension.

The findings, published yesterday in the annual TUC Pensions Watch survey, show that directors" share pensions are worth a combined total of nearly £1 billion (£950 million).

According to the TUCs analysis of boardroom pensions, it takes staff an average of 40 years to reach full pension, at which time they receive 40 times less than the average executive, who will retire on a final salary pension worth £2.7 million (£168,000 a year) after only 20 years.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber commented: "Britains boardrooms and business lobby groups have failed to tackle upstairs-downstairs style company pensions. If bosses were in the same scheme on the same terms as staff, they would still build up massive pensions compared to employees, but they would be fairer. It would also help reduce their company pension deficits."

While only a third of UK companies have salary related schemes open to all employees, 80 per cent of directors have final salary pensions, and over three quarters (77 per cent) of companies allow directors to retire on a full pension at 60.

Mr Barber continued: "Investors should demand uniform and open reporting of staff and executive pensions from companies to ensure that the funds of shareholders, including thousands of pension fund members, are not being lavished on luxury pensions."

TUC's survey puts the biggest final salary pension at £19 million, paying nearly £1 million a year to the director, while the average for directors with the largest pension in each company is £4.9 million, which pays out more than £290,000 a year - almost 40 times the average occupational pension.

And in other TUC news, research has revealed that manufacturing is vital to the long-term economic success of the North East, according to the large numbers employed in the industry, the quality of jobs and the dominance of large-scale employers.

Carried out ahead of a regional conference held yesterday in St. James Park, "Unite for Manufacturing", the survey results show that although the majority of trade union reps believe the industry is going through a difficult time now, most are optimistic about the future.

Dominated by automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical, and food and drink companies; 80% employ between 250 and 1000 employees, and the majority are foreign-owned which illustrates the regions ability to attract inward investment.

Commenting on the findings, TUC Regional Policy Officer, Peter OBrien, said: "Our research has re-emphasised how important the manufacturing sector is to the continued economic success of the North East".

"Union reps, working at the sharp end of industry, possess the instinctive knowledge and understanding of the manufacturing sector, and the positive actions that workers feel are required to make the companies they work for achieve long-term success. Concerns, such as rising energy costs and limited investment in training and skills, are areas where the Government and Regional Development Agencies can offer practical support, in partnership with unions and employers."

Leona Baldwin.

Next week: Boris Johnson MP and Stephen Williams MP talk exclusively to FE News


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