The long running dispute over the Local Government Pension Scheme, affecting over a million workers, reaches a defining moment next Tuesday when the Unison union holds a special conference.
It appears that the union leadership will be arguing for acceptance of the government’s plans for a new scheme.
This is despite the fact that the union negotiators have failed to achieve the union’s objectives on key issues.
The simple failure to secure protection for existing members of the scheme with regard to the “rule of 85” should be reason alone to reject the new scheme.
This was the issue that saw over a million workers strike last March, and was publicly stated by Unison leaders as the bottom line.
In addition the current proposals are unacceptable because they mean:
lAn increase in contributions for anyone earning more than £16,000 a year.
lWhile scheme members are expected to pay more, the employers will have their payments cut by 2 percent.
lNew ill-health retirement arrangements are worse than those currently applied.
For these reasons the proposals must be rejected and the unions must campaign for yes votes in ballots to reinstate the industrial action that they mistakenly suspended.
The immediate priority is for delegates to vote for rejection and industrial action at the special conference.
My branch, Kirklees, which successfully requisitioned the conference under the union’s rules, has called a fringe meeting.
The meeting will be next Monday 5 March at 7.30pm at Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London.
Our pensions are the most important issue for Unison and we cannot allow our union leaders’ love of New Labour to get in the way of defending our rights.