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Society calls on TUC to protect defined benefit public service pensions

4 September, 2019

Delegates at next week's TUC conference will hear the Society make the case to protect the NHS pension and make sure that its defined benefit provision remains in place for all members now and in the future.

Motion 64 will draw attention to the potential threat to future pension provision because the government have decided that a legal judgement about age discrimination, specifically relating to the scheme for firefighters, applies to all public service schemes.
Moved by the Civil Service Union, the PCS, and seconded by the Fire Brigades Union, the Society is supporting the motion, having successfully submitted an amendment to the original wording.

The Society will be making the case for the NHS pension scheme to carry out its own assessment of potential age discrimination and for any remedy to be agreed with the Scheme Advisory Board, on which the SoR is represented.

The Society will also be highlighting at TUC the danger of a government imposed 'one size fits all', which the SoR says, could prove very expensive. This proposal would  make the NHS scheme less attractive not only to members but also to employers who are not required by law to offer the scheme to employees but could instead provide much cheaper and poorer pension arrangements in its place.

The TUC Conference is in Brighton from 8-11 September.

Motion 64 Public service pensions
Congress condemns the disproportionate and unjustified decision of the treasury chief secretary in January to suspend the process for rectifying the downward breaches of the cost cap in public service pension schemes. Many scheme members are now denied the reductions in contributions and pension benefit improvements that are due to them, and are forced to continue overpaying for
lesser benefits for an uncertain period, without a timescale and an unclear outcome.

The government argued that a potential read-across of the court ruling in favour of the FBU and judges’ cases about age discrimination in the transitional protection for older scheme members in 2014/15 means that other schemes are affected, and that “it is not now possible to assess the value of the current public service pension arrangements with any certainty.” But the government has also acted in a hypocritical manner, by imposing extra employment costs for pensions, as they did
not defer the change to the discount rate from April this year, for the same reason.

Congress welcomes the intervention of the General Council, including the general secretary and president by meeting the treasury chief secretary in June, and the steps being taken following that meeting, for scheme specific talks with treasury officials to test assumptions and the scenarios displayed by different contributions, benefits and demography.

Congress calls on the General Council to ensure that the TUC organises joint union campaigning, including building for joint industrial action if necessary, until the valuation suspension is reversed.
Public and Commercial Services Union

Amendments
Insert new paragraph 2:
“Congress welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision in June in favour of the FBU’s case, which found that the Westminster government’s transitional protection arrangements for pensions amount to unlawful discrimination.”
Fire Brigades Union

In the last paragraph, after the words “if necessary”, delete the comma and insert: “to protect defined benefit pension provision in public services and”
Society of Radiographers

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