Latest Pension News (24.08.2012)
UNISON members across England and Wales have voted 90.2% in favour of accepting the proposed changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).
UNISON is the largest public service union and its members in the Local Government Pension Scheme span local government, police and probation, schools, colleges, universities, water, transport and environmental services, private companies and the voluntary sector.
The union, led the negotiations, which resulted in proposals to maintain the current contribution levels for 90% of LGPS members, introduce a 50/50 ‘low cost’ scheme for the low paid, and move from a final salary to a career average scheme.
Welcoming the ballot result, UNISON Head of Local Government Heather Wakefield said:
‘These were tough negotiations, but with a focus on the majority of members who earn less than £21,000 a year, we have ensured that current LGPS members can afford to remain in the scheme and those who could not afford to do so to date can now join via the 50/50 option.
“This is vital for many of our members who have suffered a decline in earnings as a result of the Coalition’s pay freeze policies. Contributions are now on a fairer ‘progressive’ basis. We will continue to campaign with all of the union, through the TUC, against proposals to increase the state retirement age.
“UNISON will now move into the next stage of discussions on improving the governance of the new scheme which is due to come into effect in 2014.”
Pensions Meetings – Latest Pension News (15.07.2012)
After branch’s letter to all members, we held meetings to go through the 2014 pensions proposals with members and explain why the Branch committee recommends rejection.
The meetings have been very positive (9 held at the time of writing). Each meeting had a consultative ballot. In total, 51 members voted against the proposals and were prepared to take sustained industrial action, while 17 members abstained.
Not a single member voted for the new proposals. Many voiced willingness to take the battle back to the government.
A common theme was members’s anger to proposals which will make them work longer, pay more and get less:
Work longer because their pension retirement age is proposed to tie into the state pension age – someone under 37 will retire at 68 (imagine doing your job at 68) and it won’t end there. Young members will be lucky if they are not retiring at 70 as the CONDEM government are talking of a retirement age of 72!
Pay more because although for most, contributions won’t change, this is only until 2014. Contributions will then be reviewed again. How long will it before government comes back for more? You will also be paying more as you will be retiring later.
Get less because your pension is now linked to CPI (Consumer Price Index) not RPI (Retail Price Index). It will be worth considerably less. Also the change from final salary scheme to a career average scheme could mean that many will be worse off. Why did we fight for a final salary scheme if a career average scheme is better?
Yes, there are some protections for those over 55, but for the younger generation the proposals are a sell-out and a betrayal of their future.
For the above reasons and because the attack on our pensions is part of a wider assault on our living and working conditions, your Branch committee must advise you to reject these proposals.
The official UNISON ballot runs between 31st July 2012 and the 24th of August 2012. Let’s send a resounding “No” to the government.
STOP THE RAID ON OUR PENSIONS TO BAIL OUT RICH BANKERS
NO TO WORKING LONGER, PAYING MORE AND GETTING LESS
VOTE NO TO PENSION PROPOSALS IN BALLOT