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Unite rejects local government pension reforms

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Trade union Unite has rejected Government proposals to reform the Local Government Pension Scheme.

The decision follows a letter from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles in December claiming agreement had been reached with unions over proposals to link the local government retirement age to the state pension age, introduce a career average defined-benefit scheme and set an employer cost ceiling of 10.9 per cent.

However, union officials say Pickles’ letter caused a “crisis of confidence and trust” because discussions over all three reforms were still due to take place.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey says: “Unite’s local authority representatives have lost trust after Eric Pickles let the government’s real agenda out of the bag.

“The security of our members in retirement is just too important to leave any space for doubt or mistrust, so the union’s senior representatives in local government have rejected the government’s proposals.

“Our senior representatives believe they have no choice but to reject the ’principles document’ after Eric Pickles claimed the unions had made commitments which have not been fully discussed. There now needs to be genuine discussions without arbitrary deadlines. Our members need clarity before we can move forward.”

Minister for Local Government Bob Neill says: “Our proposals represent a good deal for public sector workers and taxpayers. We need to put local government pensions on a sustainable and fair footing, and this is a generous offer.

“Town hall pensions now cost taxpayers £300 per household per year, and the cost has trebled since 1997.

“This is not fair on families and pensioners struggling to pay their council tax bills, and that is why this Government offered flexibility to Council employers to negotiate fair reforms.”

Last week, teachers’ unions the NUT and the NASUWT said they were seeking “urgent meetings” with Government ministers over proposed reforms to the teachers’ pension scheme.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Why doesn'tthe government just close the FS scheme and change over to Money Purchase like the rest of the country ! What makes privilaged civil servants so much better than the rest of us that they deserve government speciasl treatment at the tax payers expense

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  • The changes have to happen, for the simple reason that the scheme in its present format is costing the country too much. It's not as if teachers are paid a pittance either. The same goes for all the other gold-plated public sector schemes.

    A good place to start would be to outlaw all these patently phoney "redundancy" deals with a lavishly enhanced early retirement pension, often with the lucky recipient being invited back a couple of months later on a generous consultancy basis. As far as I'm concerned, such practices constitute arrant tax-payer fraud, only marginally removed from what so many MP's were allowed for years to get away with.

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