Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Protect our Pensions: VOTE NO & Reject the LGPS 'deal'

Protect our Pensions: VOTE NO & Reject the LGPS 'deal'

UNISON members are being asked to vote by postal ballot on proposals for a new Local Government Pension Scheme from 1 April 2014.

The proposals would mean:
  • Increased Retirement Age to 68
  • Ending Final Salary Scheme
  • Paying in longer for less benefits

UNISON United Left is urging all those who want to defend their Pensions to vote NO in this Ballot and to reject the LGPS deal. The Ballot will run from 31 July to 24 August 2012 and members will be able to vote by post or online.

Work Longer
Whilst there is some protection for those within 10 years of reaching 65 in April 2012 years the proposals would mean an increased retirement age of 66 for those aged between 53 and 56 now, of up to 67 for those currently aged between 36 and 53, and of 68 and above for the
under 36s.

Pension age linked to SPA:
  • 66 for those under 58
  • 67 for those under 53
  • 68 for those under 36
  • 71+ for young workers?
Protection for those 10 yrs from retirement in April 2012 & on pre 2014 scheme membership.

Will people make it to 68?
Public Sector jobs are often hard and stressful. That's why most people don't make it to 65 now -the average real retirement age in the LGPS is between 62 and 63. But if you retire before the normal retirement age you'll have your pension reduced, currently by up to one third if you go at 60. The reductions may go down in 2013 - because as people live longer the relative amount of extra pension you get by going early goes down. But that process is likely to be reversed by raising the retirement age so that reductions for retiring before the new higher retirement age are likely to increase for those currently aged under 55.

Pay More
The success of the joint strike action on 30 November has forced the government to make some concessions. Contributions will not go up for most scheme members with steep increases for those earning above £43,000 (where the higher rate of tax relief applies.)

Contributions would be based on actual rather than notional Full Time Equivalent pay, and would include overtime and additional hours.

Strike action works
For the loss of one day's pay in strike action on 30 November most people will save more than that on each and every month's pension contributions from now on. But...if we pay into the scheme for more years because of tlater retirement we still pay more.

Get Less
The new scheme scraps our Final Salary Scheme replacing it with a Career Average (CARE). As almost everybody earns more at the end of their working lives this will be worse for many people. Even if you are in the same job all your life your pay rises through incremental progression or regrading. The CARE scheme is based on actual earnings per year and so delivers less in the years you earn less for any reason.

1/49 accrual rate in a CARE scheme revalued by CPI doesn't deliver the same benefits as 1/60 final salary. When the civil service brought in a CARE scheme they offered 1/42 accrual rate, revalued by the better measure of RPI, as "broadly comparable" to 1/60 final salary. 1/49 revalued by CPI falls far short of that.

Final Salary and raised Retirement Age are said to be deal breakers. Then the deal should be broken.

The new scheme is also based on pensions only being uprated by CPI instead of RPI. This cut the value of our pensions by 15% at a stroke.

United Strike Action can win
November the major unions in all the other Public Sector Schemes:
  • Civil Service
  • Health
  • Teachers
  • Lecturers
have rejected proposals for new pension schemes based on the proposals announced by the Treasury in November that underpinned the "Heads of Agreement", all based on working longer, paying more, and getting less.

Doctors were the latest group to take industrial action on pensions on 21 June - their first industrial action in 40 years.

Most unions are pledged to take more strike action in the Autumn - UNISON should be with them.

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