Not only is the Tory-led Government dismantling our public services but they are also attacking public sector pension schemes as can be seen from the recommendations in the Hutton Report. Their proposals will leave people working longer, paying more and getting less. They have already imposed a 3% increase in contributions starting in 2012 and that’s just for starters.
The four major threats to our pensions are:
- how our yearly pension increases are going to be calculated
- increases in our pension contributions the government wants to take out of our pay to use to reduce the government’s debt – money that will not go into our pensions!
- recommendations to be made by the Independent Public Pension Scheme Commission on the future structure of our schemes and the benefits they may deliver
- “Fair Deal on Pensions” – what pensions contractors may have to pay if jobs are privatised.
Pension payment increases
The Chancellor announced in the Emergency Budget in June 2010 that from April this year public service pensions would increase each year by the annual increase in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Prices Index (RPI) which has historically been the case. As a result we are going to worse off as follows:
- a woman receiving the average pension for women in the Local Government Pension Scheme(LGPS) of approx £2,600pa will be around £40 worse off this year
- a member with the average pension in the LGPS of approx £4,100pa will be around £62 worse off this year
- a woman on the median women’s pension in the NHSPS of approx £3,500pa will be around £53 worse off this year
- a member receiving the overall average pension in public service schemes of approx £7,800pa will be around £117 worse off this year.
The threat to public sector pensions is not going away. The Union needs to be prepared to fight for public sector pensions and if we are to consider taking industrial action over this issue we have to ensure our members understand the threat to their pensions and what it will mean for their future – we have to get organised NOW!
What can you do?
First of all, we need to build a network of workplace pension contacts which can cascade information to their colleagues on what’s happening to their pensions and to keep them up-to-date with the campaign. During the Local Government Pension Scheme dispute we used this method of communication and it was very successful, therefore, I’m asking all activists who are involved in public sector pensions to contact their members asking them to volunteer to be a pension contact for their workplace. Our aim is to have a pensions contact in every workplace, everyone needs to be involved! Please email GLRpensions@unison.co.uk with the following details:
Name of contact:
Name of Employer:
Workplace to be covered:
Member of which pension scheme:
Secondly, we must campaign against a cut in pensioners’ living standards so please contact your retired members and make sure as many of our retired members are encouraged to march for public services on 26 March in London. Also if they would like to become involved and act as branch pension contacts please email details to GLRpensions@unison.co.uk and they will be added to the list.
Further information on the pension workplace contact role can be found by following this link
Further information including briefing documents on the Hutton Recommendations can be found by following this link