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Local government pensions strike decision postponed

Issue No. 2034

A protest at Newham council, east London, over pay and pensions earlier this week

A protest at Newham council, east London, over pay and pensions earlier this week

The Unison union’s local government service group executive decided last week that new proposals over pensions were unacceptable.

But the majority voted to postpone for a month the decision on whether to call a strike ballot.

Yet there is ample evidence to call such a ballot. The proposals do not increase protection for staff who are losing out as the scheme changes, increase contributions for many, and disadvantage part time workers (the great majority of them women).

There are other attacks, particularly on the arrangements when someone is made redundant.

At present those aged 50 or over are entitled to immediate payment of accrued pension benefits. Any “added years” have been discretionary, but the pension has been paid without any actuarial reduction.

As Unison national executive member Jon Rogers explains on his website:

“An actuarial reduction is otherwise made when pensions are paid before normal retirement age to reflect the fact that the pension is likely to be in payment for a longer period before the pensioner dies.

“Under the draft regulations (regulation 11) the employer ‘may’ pay pension benefits early (and from 2010 only to those aged 55 and above) which suggests that they will have discretion not to do so.”

A special pensions conference will take place on 6 March at Alexandra Palace in London. Branches need to send in details of delegates by 12 February. It must be part of a strike campaign and ballot.

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Sat 20 Jan 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2034
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