I can't remember seeing reported where an elected body within our Union had made decisions in relation to this ballot but - as that's doubtless the consequence of my inattentiveness and poor memory - I have asked the relevant questions and shall share the answers in due course.
I'm also intrigued as to how we have come to the judgment that the offer on civil service pensions is indeed "the best that can be achieved by negotiation."
Negotiations on the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme have taken place between the Cabinet Office and the National Trade Union Committee for the Civil Service which was formed when the former Council of Civil Service Unions was dissolved (http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/index.cfm/id/AF7C15FC-61DD-4D0D-BE46703B8427D180).
When the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General reported to the House of Commons on the position of trade unions in relation to the civil service pension scheme on 20 December he said; "FDA, Prospect, GMB Prison Governors Association and the Immigration Services Union have agreed to take to their Executives as the best that can be achieved through negotiations. There is a specific outstanding issue relating to mechanisms for prison officers to retire earlier than state pension age where we are continuing to have discussions with the Prison Officers Association." (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm111220/wmstext/111220m0001.htm) He didn't mention UNISON.
The note placed in the House of Commons Library about the Civil Service scheme (http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN03224) when it comes to report the response of the trade unions to the final offer, notes (at paragraph 4.3) that Prospect have agreed to recommend the final offer "as the best that can be achieved by negotiation" and that the managers' union, the First Division Association (FDA) have also concluded that this is "the best that can be achieved by negotiation", but that members of UNITE and PCS (which alone represents the large majority of unionised members of the scheme) have voted to reject. It doesn't mention UNISON.
Were we even present at any negotiations in order to conclude that their outcome was "the best that can be achieved"?
Why has UNISON arrived at the same conclusion as the Prospect/FDA minority and not the PCS/UNITE majority?
These aren't simply rhetorical questions, and their answers won't only relate to the pensions dispute.
There is only one other large, predominantly public service trade union with which we recently agreed a joint statement (http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/campaigns/campaign-resources/pcs-and-unison-joint-statement.cfm).
As our General Secretary said of UNISON's alliance with PCS; "This is no paper policy, this alliance has teeth." (http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/news_centre/index.cfm/id/CAE1742C-7735-4BFD-ADEDBEF5EE73B3FE).
If UNISON doesn't build on the possibility of joint campaigning with our brothers and sisters in PCS they clearly have other options (http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/pcs_comment_archive.cfm/id/9FBFFD72-7284-4FAF-81A810DE7FEBE412).
All of which leads me - in a convoluted way - to the conclusion that all those with an input to the prioritisation process for UNISON National Delegate Conference should prioritise Motion 11 on "Closer Working with the Public and Commercial Services Union" from the Kent Local Government Branch.
And, of course, I'll let you know how UNISON arrived at a conclusion about the civil service pension negotiations which is diametrically opposed to the conclusion of our allies in PCS - just as soon as someone tells me...
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