Embargoed until: 00.01 Monday 21 November 2022


New research reveals widespread fear of ‘pension poverty’ among workers ahead of 



  • four in ten believe their works’ pension won’t see them through retirement;


  • seven out of ten agree ‘you can’t live on the state pension’;


A shocking new survey of 6000 adults, completed by pollsters Survation for Unite, has revealed that fear of pension poverty haunts a huge section of workers when they contemplate their retirement. One section of the survey covering those workers who are already members of an occupational pension scheme found that:


  • 40% of workers - or four out of ten - believed that their occupational pension scheme wouldn’t be enough to live comfortably on in retirement;
  • Only 31% - just three in ten - thought that it would;
  • And a surprising 29% - three in ten - couldn’t say; 


According to figures from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) there are only 6400 final salary workplace schemes left in the UK. And only 1000 are fully open to current employees, and the numbers decline by hundreds every year - proof of employers abdicating their current responsibilities. Employers have a part to play in securing current final salary pension schemes and building new ones - it’s their responsibility to maintain and open good quality schemes.


The Unite/Survation survey also found that there was huge condemnation about the current level of the state pension - £185.20 per week 


  • 66% - almost seven out of ten - say the current state pension isn’t enough to live on;
  • only 21% - two out of ten - think that it is;


Sharon Graham, the leader of Unite, has vowed to support workers campaigning for a pension to live on”.


During last week’s Autumn Statement Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer trumpeted that he has committed to maintaining the triple lock on state pensions.


However, with real inflation at 14.2%, pensioners will still be behind the curve of price rises on a pension which a big majority think isn’t anywhere near enough. 


Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “It’s wrong that there is so much fear and uncertainty ahead of workers’ retirement because pensions are not enough to live on.


“We must not allow profiteering employers or a negligent state to push our people into pension poverty. That means re-opening final salary schemes, raising the state pension and continuing to defend the triple lock.


“Unite’s new research confirms that it is right for the union to battle for a better deal for pensioners. Securing a decent pension to live on is a central demand for Unite’s activists.”


The research into people’s attitudes towards the state and to workplace pensions, conducted by Survation, is being released ahead of Unite’s 2022 National Sector Conference in Birmingham which begins today (Monday 21stNovember).


Workplace pensions and the state pension will be a hot topic debated amongst Unite’s retired members, workplace representatives and Unite community members at the week-long conference in the session on Thursday.



Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315 

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion

Web: unitetheunion.org

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.