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Message from Sally Hunt on Public Sector Pensions

As you may have seen yesterday the government made a revised and improved pensions offer to public sector workers. The offer is complex but in essence produces more available funding for each pension scheme, an improvement to the annual accrual rate which is used to work out your final pension and protection for those ten or less years from the normal retirement age.


The government has not as yet addressed union concerns about the proposed increased contribution rates or the protection of pensions against inflation.


I wanted to explain to you what happens next.


I met with colleagues from other unions following the government offer. It was agreed that we should now seek a clearer understanding of its implications for each individual public sector scheme, including our schemes. I have appended the joint statement agreed by all the involved unions below this message.


There was general agreement among unions, including our colleagues within the education sector, that while the improvements from the government’s initial position were welcome, they were not enough to call off the proposed strike on 30 November.


As I said yesterday in interviews, the step taken yesterday by a government which had previously refused to budge an inch is an eloquent advert for being a member of a trade union. Please therefore share this message with non-UCU members and ask them to join us, and make our campaign even stronger in the coming weeks:


As you would expect, I and colleagues will continue to pursue a fair, negotiated settlement on your behalf but please be ready to support your union on 30 November should this not prove possible.


Members in Scottish Post-92s and in Northern Ireland who are being balloted on the Scottish Teachers Superannuation Scheme and the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Pension Scheme respectively, over whether to join the campaign, I continue to urge you to vote yes.


Thank you as ever for your support.






Statement after pensions meeting


A meeting of the TUC’s Public Services Liaison Group (PSLG) at Congress House in London today (Wednesday) agreed the following statement:


‘At the meeting earlier today Danny Alexander and Francis Maude outlined a number of new proposals to the TUC negotiating team, including an improvement in the proposed accrual rates within the major public service schemes compared to their previous position, and new proposed transitional protections for those closest to retirement. They also indicated a long-term commitment to any agreed reforms not being reopened within the next 25 years.


‘The PSLG welcomed this movement in the government’s position which has come as a direct result of the strength of feeling and determination shown by public sector workers and the groundswell of support for the TUC’s day of action at the end of this month.


‘These proposals, and their detailed implications for the pensions offer within each scheme, will now need to be considered in detail within the sector specific negotiations, alongside all the other issues including proposed contribution increases, increases in the pension age, and the impact of the indexation change from RPI to CPI on which the government’s position remains unchanged.


‘All the unions have indicated throughout this process their determination to reach a negotiated settlement on all these issues. That remains the position and unions will engage intensively in the coming weeks. But unless and until further real progress is made and acceptable offers are made within those negotiations, unions remain firmly committed to continuing their preparations for the planned day of action on November 30.


‘A further meeting of the PSLG will be held in November to consider reports on any progress made within the sector talks.’


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