Socialist Worker

Devil is in the detail of pensions framework deal

Issue No. 1990

The framework deal agreed over pensions with civil service workers, NHS staff and teachers looks even worse after leaks about the detailed negotiations.

The government not only wants to make most new workers do five years more than existing staff, it also wants them to accept an inferior career average pension rather than a final salary one.

Civil service and health unions are now being pressed to rubberstamp the change in talks taking place with the department of health and the cabinet office, due to be concluded by the end of March.

A spokesperson for Unison, which represents many of the 1.3 million NHS workers, said, “It is no secret that there is an increased push to move the NHS to a career average scheme.”

However, the press leaks suggest that members of the teachers’ pensions scheme look set to hang on to their final salary deal.

Worryingly, newspapers last week quoted a PCS union spokesperson saying, “The current scheme was launched in a very different world from today, where a man joined the civil service straight from school, had 2.4 children and stayed there all his life until he retired.

“Most people recognise those days have gone and pensions designed on that basis are no longer sustainable.”

This is parroting the employers’ supposed justification for pensions cuts. There is no reason why changes in employment patterns should automatically lead to pensions being cut.

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