Thursday, July 12, 2007

Debate on pensions at the UNISON NEC

On pensions, the General Secretary wants us all to respond to the statutory consultation on extending protection from 2016 to 2020 – clearly this is important since, even though 2020 isn’t good enough in my view, it is better than 2016. Moving forward Dave says that we need to pursue the issue of governance of our pension fund – UNISON’s view is that a European Directive requires pension fund members to be represented on the decision making bodies, whereas the Government view is that, as the LGPS is a statutory fund they are not required to concede this representation.

Our pension funds are our money and we do need to pursue this campaign, Peter Gaskin from Eastern Region has intervened to support Dave on this point and I shall certainly report further on this blog about this developing area of the Union’s work.

Glenn Kelly, representing local government has asked about instructions being issued to branches that they may not issue recommendations contrary to the national recommendation to accept the LGPS proposals. I agree that this is foolish control freakery and made some comments to this effect. I was pleased to receive a friendly response from the Chair of the Service Group Liaison Committee who made passing reference to a speech I had given at the Local Government Conference.

Dave Prentis thinks that we should not be allowed to use UNISON resources to express dissent from a national recommendation – this is clearly a new departure for UNISON and activists need to consider how we respond.

The fundamental error which I think the General Secretary is making is that he says that UNISON has agreed its policy, whereas the policy of the Union will be decided by our members in the ballot and, until that decision is taken by the membership the policy has not been set and different points of view must be allowed to find expression.

1 comment:

Ali said...

"Dave Prentis thinks that we should not be allowed to use UNISON resources to express dissent from a national recommendation – this is clearly a new departure for UNISON and activists need to consider how we respond.

The fundamental error which I think the General Secretary is making is that he says that UNISON has agreed its policy, whereas the policy of the Union will be decided by our members in the ballot..."

Quite right, Jon. Last I heard we were a member-led union, with the membership making policy for the 'leadership faction' to implement. It seems here that DP is attempting to put the cart before the horse. Any sensible organisation recognises that there will be differing points of view and facilitates debate accordingly. I hope you and others will continue to work to encourage just this sort of debate.