Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sunday's pensions debate - what next?

Although those of us who had wanted a clear recommendation from our Conference to our members in the forthcoming ballot on the proposals for the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) from 2014 did not get our way, those who have seen the outcome of Sunday's debates simply as a defeat for the left and the rank and file seem to me to be mistaken.

The position which emerged triumphant (for widespread consultation ahead of a decision on a recommendation by Service Group Executives) was counterposed to a position of simply recommending acceptance, advanced in isolation by the Barking and Dagenham branch.

Whilst in many cases this may simply have been a device to avoid a Conference recommendation to reject - and therefore to secure a recommendation to accept by a more roundabout route - we nevertheless have the opportunities both of the consultation exercise and of the subsequent ballot to campaign against a proposed deal which would see our members work longer before receiving a reduced pension (with all workers whose state pension age moves to 68 receiving a worse deal if they retire at 65 - and all longer serving staff seeing a lower pension even if they work and pay pension contributions for a further three years).

Mobilising our members for October's TUC demonstration, and probable strike action to break the pay freeze, is far more consistent with a robust approach to rejecting an inadequate pensions offer than it is with accepting it.

It will also be interesting to see if proposals to support the "68 is too late" campaign make it on to our Conference agenda (http://www.68istoolate.org.uk/pages/motion-backing-68-is-too-late-goes-to-unison-conference).

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

Adrian Picton said...

You are right to say the fight is nhot over and we can still campaign within our branches for rejection. The problem is going to be, of course, that the leadership will attempt to put out information which makes the deal look favourable. Nevertheless I think the emergency motion which followed Composite 5 helps since, although it was really concerning the website, you rightly insisted on it being debated since it is relevant to the whole issue of incorrect and biest information being put out by the leadership. The main point which I think wasn't clearly made during the pensions debate was the fact that allowing branches to be consulted on a recommendation instead of Conference recommending a no vote is really the same as recommending a yes vote because of the way members and branches will be informed/misinformed about the merits of the current proposal. We therefore have to hold the leadership to putting out true and accurate information and mount our own campaign, as you have described, to get our own branches and others to recommend a no vote to their members during this consultation.