Monday, November 27, 2006

Government Snubs union’s call for Pensions justice - Glenn Kelly (Local Government NEC member)

With the best pension scheme in Europe netting a £28,000 a year for a MP’s, Phil Wools the local Government minister got to his feet last week to lecture us on why the government needed to attack our pension because of affordability

Despite over 1000 delegates lobbying parliament on Wednesday 22nd November to call on government to protect our pensions New labour (who we fund to the tune of £2m plus a year) have now put their new offer on the table, as predicted they want to us to pay more for less.


Having already scrapped the right to retire at 60, (if you have 25yrs local government service) which has saved the employers £15billion, they have refused to even move on the protection offered for existing members of the scheme. Only those over 50 are being offered protection.

We pay more they pay less!

They now want us to pay more. At the moment ex manual workers pay 5% of their salary in pension contributions and the rest pay 6%.

The government offer is now saying contribution rates will be 5.5% on the first £12k earned and 7.5% on rest. It will be some of the lowest paid who will suffer most out of this.

But, It won’t stop there, unlike the past where the rates of contribution were fixed they now want us to bear the brunt of any future problems. They are proposing that the amount we pay is reviewed again in 2009 for any further changes being implemented in 2011.

Whilst we pay more, the employers will be able to cut their contribution rate down to 13.2% from 14.5%.

Redundancy rights attacked

At the moment you can take your pension at 50 if your made redundant and in many council’s you can also get added years. Both these measures are now to go and you will not be able to take your pension even if made redundant before the age of 55 this is to be introduced in 2010

Attack on the ill health retirement rights

At the moment if your declared permanently unfit for your job you can take your pension and get added years service. The government are now proposing that is not enough. If your declared unfit for your job but told you are fit for “any gainful” employment even outside public services then you lose the right to this benefit and will only get the pension you’ve accrued.

On top of this even if you are declared unfit and get your ill health pension, it could be taken off you, if later on your declared fit for gainful work. This could be a bully’s charter of the sick.

Accrual Rate

The only real plus on offer is the promise that the accrual rate will now be 1/60th rather than 1/80th. In the main this would mean that you could get a bigger pension or a higher lump sum than currently.

However this higher rate will only apply to service after 2008. The government documents do not mention what happens to all your existing service.

In return for this slight increase we will all be forced to work an extra five years longer or lose significant proportion of our pension.

What next

The local government executive meets on Monday the 4th December we must ensure that this offer is rejected and the strike ballot is to begin.

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