NEWSLETTER 23 19 MAY 2006
Negotiations have been taking place with the
The Statement called for urgent negotiations to start on protection and the new look scheme, with 50% of the savings from removal of the 85 Rule and the 25% lump sum commutation provision to be made available for protection and improvements, including full protection. The Statement also called for urgent discussions to resolve the differences between the trade union actuaries – AON - and the Government and employers’ actuaries.
A number of meetings have been held with the LGA and LGE. A meeting
between the actuaries was also held on 17 May, where some progress was made
towards resolving the actuarial differences. The Government and the employers
continue to insist that the 85 Rule is discriminatory and in their view
Judicial Review lodged
We do not agree and continue to tell them so! In order to challenge their view, UNISON has lodged a judicial review which should be heard in the High Court in the next two months. If we win, the Amendment (3) Regulations removing the 85 Rule will be quashed and the way will be open for new negotiations.
Improvements so far
During the recent talks - which will continue - we have been able to demonstrate that there are enough savings to provide full protection and improvements to the current scheme, even using the Government Actuary’s cautious figures!! Following on from our 28 March day of action, the Government has shown some willingness to improve on protection, within the constraints of its legal view.
Service Group Executives and Sector Committees meet
The Department for Communities and
· Delay the removal of the 85 Rule until 31 March 2008, instead of 2006, for all existing scheme members at 30 September 2006. This would mean that those members would continue to accrue benefits under the 85 Rule until the new look scheme is introduced in 2008
· Extend the transitional protection in the Amendment (3) Regulations from 31 March 2013 until 31 March 2016. This would apply to all existing scheme members at 30 September 2006 who will be 60 or over by 31 March 2016. There would be tapering reduction factors to 2020 to tie in with the increase in the state retirement age for women to 65 in 2020 and avoid the ‘cliff edge’ effect
The Trade Union Side view
The meeting was informed that the Trade Union Side had met on 11 May and had decided that, while the current position outlined above falls far short of our objective of achieving full protection, it does represent a marginal improvement on the protection in the Amendment (3) Regulations. It therefore decided to note the current position and not oppose the consultation proposed by the DCLG.
However, the unions will continue to argue for full protection and
improvements to the scheme for present and future
Service Groups and Sector Committees decision
Each of the Service Groups decided to ‘note’ the proposals from the DCLG, on the basis that they represent an improved ‘staging post’ in the negotiations, which will continue.
The Local Government Service Group Executive further agreed to give representative time to consult Regional Local Government Committees and report back to the 8 June 2006 Local Government Service Group Executive.
The ‘New Look’ Scheme
objective for the ‘new look’
improvement to the accrual rate, from 1/80 to 1/60
significant improvement to the actuarial reduction factors which apply when a
member retires before her/his normal retirement age. This would mean that
anyone retiring before the future pension age of 65 would suffer a smaller
reduction in their pension
pensions for unmarried and unregistered partners, whether same sex or
death in service benefits
to encourage more low paid members into the scheme
arrangements for ‘admitted body status’
· Equivalent pension provision for Muslim employees, compatible with Sharia law
Any new proposals will need to be fully equality proofed and compatible with equality legislation.
Watch this space!
We will be keeping members and branches informed of progress in the negotiations through Campaign News and the UNISON web site. Please tell your workmates what is going on.
Keep up the campaigning
vital that we continue to recruit new members and Pension Contacts during the
current negotiations. If there are non-members where you work, they need to
join UNISON now to ensure they are part of a collective voice and are part of
the campaign for an improved