Monday, August 13, 2012

Vote on the future of the Local Government Pension Scheme

Now is the time to remind UNISON members to cast their votes in the ballot concerning the future of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) - the LGPS 2014 proposals.

The ballot hotline is open for members who have not received ballot papers and the ballot closes at the end of next week.

The national union is pulling out the stops to get the ("YES") vote out (in line with the recommendations from four out of five Service Group Executives).

I'm not persuaded and am a convinced "NO" voter on this occasion - but the most important thing is to encourage members to vote.

This has been hard enough eight months after our single day of strike action - and has hardly been assisted by attempts to clamp down on debate and stifle dissent.

We need at least to match the turnout in the strike ballot if we want this ballot result to have real moral, as well as formal, authority.

After the ballot there will be much still to be done in relation to the LGPS. A lot of important questions (such as how "admitted body status" will change to preserve scheme membership for all staff privatised in future) remain to be resolved.

There are also other important questions raised by the conduct of the current ballot to which we shall have to turn.

The issues around the democratic rights of branches to campaign for their own local recommendations in national ballots probably need to be debated once more at National Delegate Conference 2013, since the clarity of Rule B.2.5 may be obscured when viewed from Euston Road.

Delegates to Local Government Conference 2013 will also have to consider whether they are content that their Service Group Executive (SGE) disregarded clear Conference decisions both in relation to information to be circulated with the ballot paper, and - crucially - prior publication of an Equality Impact Assessment.

I have been advised that no complaint can be made about the SGE failing to abide by Conference decisions and that this has to be raised within the Service Group. I shall happily follow this advice.

In response the constant queries from regular readers (Sid and Doris Blogger) I am also happy to report that I finally received a response late last week concerning the error in the main national UNISON leaflet describing the proposals for LGPS 2014 (about which I have blogged ad nauseam - http://www.jonrogers1963.blogspot.com/2012/08/a-fire-safety-issue.html?m=1).

Our leaflet, still uncorrected, told our members, incorrectly, that the Coalition Government had predetermined the revaluation rate in the LGPS 2014 proposals, when the truth was that this had been part of the outcome of the negotiations which led to the proposals - with the (less generous) revaluation rate traded for a (more generous) accrual rate when compared with the Government's "reference scheme".

I have been advised by the author that "The issue you highlight was a genuine error made by myself when drafting the leaflet for members'.

Everyone can make mistakes.

I've had more gracious apologies I suppose, but you take what you can get.

Move along now.

Nothing to see here.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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