Thursday, October 06, 2011

Islington Council supports “Local Government workers defending their pension scheme”

Well done to Islington Labour Councillors for moving and supporting the following motion, which has just now been passed by a full council meeting.

I hope other Councils will follow suit. I also look forward to seeing other UNISON branches along regional and national Labour Link committees using this as a model motion to ask other Local Councils and Labour Groups to pass.

Support for the Local Government Pension Scheme

Council notes that the LGPS is a sustainable, good quality pension scheme that benefits from being funded and locally managed. It is valuable to employers and employees alike.

Council is concerned by proposals announced by the Chancellor in the last CSR to impose an extra 3.2% contribution tax on scheme members, increasing scheme average member contributions from 6.6% to 9.8% and notes that none of the additional revenue will go towards improving the financial security of the scheme and that in addition, research indicates that 40-50 per cent of affected members may opt out of the scheme as a result of this policy, thereby undermining the viability of the largest pension scheme in the UK. Current Government proposals are not a genuine attempt to make the schemes more sustainable, they are a cash grab by the Treasury, imposing an additional tax on workers.

Council notes that public service workers have suffered an ongoing pay freeze, widespread redundancies and cuts and closures of many vital services on which our communities rely.

Council further notes that the LGA wrote to the Chancellor on 16 February 2011 to express concerns that mass opt-outs would be both undesirable and damaging to the scheme – Council shares these concerns.

Council is disappointed that the Government has failed to negotiate fully and openly with the Trade Unions and regrets that the Government’s intransigence has increased the possibility of industrial action. Council notes that the trade unions and community groups have agreed to organise local and national protests in support of public services, jobs and pensions. Council agrees to support the work of the Trade Unions in raising awareness of this issue and local government employees in defending their pension scheme.

Council resolves to ask the Leader to write to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury within the next month to express Council’s concerns and urge the Government to rethink their proposals.

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