Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More news about no news about the LGPS

Thanks to comments on an earlier post my attention has been drawn to some content behind a paywall on t'intraweb of relevance to the negotiations between the trade unions and the Local Government Association (LGA) concerning the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

Brian Strutton, GMB's national secretary for public services, is quoted online as saying that "The unions and the LGA have been expecting ministerial sign off for our proposals which we amended at governments request and re-submitted earlier this month. Unfortunately officials from the Department of Communities & Local Government and Treasury told us today that ministers were raising a further three issues."

This is interesting for two reasons. First, it is a public acknowledgment that, having done a (secret) deal with the employers and sent it to the Government, our world class negotiators response to the Government seeking changes (in a deal we aren't allowed to know about) was... to make those changes.

Now there are three possibilities;

(A) The Government thought the deal was insufficiently generous to employees and demanded changes in our interest, or;

(B) The Government sought changes which had no bearing upon the value of the scheme to its members, or;

(C) The Government thought that the scheme exceeded their "cost envelope", was too generous and demanded changes detrimental to our interests.

Somehow I think option (C) is most likely, which does - at least - mean that we will be spared the awful recommendation that what is on offer is "the best that can be achieved by negotiation" since we all now know that the LGPS proposals with which we will be presented will fall short of what was in fact achieved in negotiations between unions and employers.

The second reason that Mr Strutton's disarming honesty is of interest is that he makes clear what any novice negotiator would know, that if you make concessions to the bullies in this Government they will certainly come back for more.

I understand that the negotiating team - on both trade union and Local Government Association (LGA) sides - are keen to get the deal approved by ministers so the consultation with union and LGA members can start before the association, Unison, GMB and Unite hold their annual conferences next month.

Because Conferences are large gatherings of elected delegates with a legitimate right to express an opinion, and make recommendations, clearly they must be the last bodies anyone would want to be able to pass judgement on the work of world class negotiators.

I await word from UNISON...

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

Andy said...

Many thanks Jon for all your LGPS blog entries. It has become the place I come to first whenever I feel the need to try to find out what on earth is going on. Since public information is very scarce / non-existent regarding what the "big-ticket" items in the new scheme will look like (let alone the "little-ticket" ones), I greatly appreciate you blogging the snippets of info that come your way.

I came across my own "snippet" recently which may interest you and/or Sid and Doris. This snippet was gleaned during a presentation I attended at work from a pensions representative from the Prudential (they are our in-house Additional Voluntary Contribution provider for the LGPS in my county).
During the presentation the chap from the Pru said that he had heard a couple of things about the proposed scheme big-ticket items. Specifically, he said that the accrual rate is likely to be 1/57th and that the revaulation rate is set to be inflation (I can only assume CPI) +1.8%.

Now, I don't know where he got his information from and therefore I am sure it should be placed firmly in the folder marked "conjecture". However, given that "fact" has been unavailable for the masses on this subject for some time now, conjecture is all we have!