Friday, December 29, 2006

2020 vision for the LGPS?

Will it be a Happy New Year for the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)?

I guess we will have to wait (in spite of pressure from the unions) for the New Year to see what if any concrete outcome has emerged from the talks which Phil “bumbling” Woolas allowed time for after his earlier hasty attempt to impose a settlement. (From which he had to back down in the face of union pressure),

The key factor behind the massive strike action in March was that LGPS members were being denied the lifetime protection for existing scheme members which was offered to members of other public service pension schemes in October 2005.

The official position is still that full protection is only available to those existing scheme members who will be 60 by 31 March 2016 – with limited protection for those who will turn 60 up to 31 March 2020.

It would be no great shock if the Government brought the proposals for England, Wales and Northern Ireland into line with the slightly more generous protection proposals applicable in Scotland – where the rights of all those current scheme members who will turn 60 up to and including 31 March 2020 are being protected. This would not meet the objectives of the trade unions in relation to protection, which is for full protection for all existing scheme members.

We didn’t go on strike to secure protection for some and not for others. With pension fund deficits falling on the back of a rising stock market, lifetime protection for existing scheme members is possible. The governance of the dispute needs to be firmly in the hands of those who are affected – union members who are members of the LGPS.

I hope that the Standing Orders Committee for UNISON Local Government Conference, which meets on 4 January, will agree a sensible timetable for the Special Conference which has been called in the light of the well supported requisition initiated by the Kirklees branch. The handful of malcontents who still oppose the call for a Conference may yet attempt some sabotage – but that would be ill advised.

Protection to 2020 is not good enough. The membership need to take control of this dispute.

Update on 4 January - in fact I was wrong (there is a first time for everything dear reader ;p) - the Government tabled the draft Regulations for formal consultation late on the afternoon of Friday 22 December. Isn't it always the way that you find a present still wrapped up about now when you take the tree down, but when you open it it is a big disappointment? I'll blog about this tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The issue is not really 'protection' but protection for waht?

there must be immediate and full conversion day for day old into new scheme.

What about deferred members too?