(Our Hendon Town Picket line made the UNISON National 'In Focus' magazine last month)
Welcome to the first Barnet UNISON
Although most of our members will be hopefully enjoying their summer holidays...the Pensions saga continues.
I hope not to complicate matters but things are becoming complicated, I will try to make some sense of what is happening in terms of consultation.
We all know about the85 rule and the right to retire at 60 proposals and the subsequent strike in March this year. We prepared to strike during the local elections unless we at least had parity with our UNISON colleagues in Health. The strike was called off but our demands were not met.
We were then told that we were going to seek a Judicial review to see if we could win the legal argument. At UNISON Confeterence there was heated debate as to whether we should be preparing for industrial action whilst awaiting a legal judgement. The Conference decision to wait and see won by a narrow majority.....the date has been set for the judical review is the 18 and 19 September 2006. Depending on the outcome of the review I think we may hear about a ballot for further industrial action.
But if things were that simple.........they are not. The 85 rule etc was just the start of something much bigger the complete overhaul of the Pension Scheme and it is important for all of us in the scheme to take note. The Governement is consulting on a number of options for the New Look scheme for further details I woudl suggest you go to the following UNISON web site http://www.unison.org.uk/pensions/docs_list.asp
I attended a UNISON Regional Seminar on 17 August where it was made clear to all those present that NONE of these were UNISON options.
We felt it important that we submit our proposals .....Option E
Our Option E would have the following
- No detriment to current scheme members retiring at 60
- Partnership pensions for all (including co-habitees)
- Clarity for those joining the scheme in the future
- An increase in death benefitsParity with the other public sector schemes
- 1/60 accrualTapered contributions in the future scheme
I hope our members have the chance to see Option E and that out UNISON negotiators are able to bring this to the table once negotiations start.
Is everyone now clear?
Next.......the Government without any discussions with UNISON slipped in another Regulation change. This proposed change concerns 'discretionary payments or added years'. These are payments made to staff ( over 50) in the Pension Scheme who retire early or on the grounds of Ill Health (age does not apply in this case). Although these payments are discretionary they can mean up to a payment of six and two thirds years on to your Pension. Government are intending to abolish this method and replace it with a lump sum payment. Teh deadline is the end of September. The Council has a policy and I hope that this will be made public in order that we can consult with our members. I am hopeful however that this will be 'knocked back' I await guidance from UNISON.
So in a nutshell.....................
We are waiting to hear if we are in dispute about the 85 year rule, the New Look Pension Scheme and the Discretionary Payments issue........I haven't even mentioned the Pay Award discussions........that will have to wait for another Blog.
Please let me have any comments suggestions.