Now -read the book!

Here is a link to my memoirs which, if you are a glutton for punishment, you can purchase online at
Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. (William Morris - A Dream of John Ball)

Friday, December 21, 2018

Will our trade unions support age discrimination claims against the public sector pension schemes?

The best day of my working life was 30 November 2011, when I led (locally) the largest and most solid strike I had ever been involved in, as our public service trade unions took united action to defend our pensions. (Though not everyone approved…)

The eventual settlement of that pensions dispute was not something which I was happy with (albeit it was – eventually - supported by ballots of members of most of the unions involved – including UNISON).

Without doubt, part of the reason why members voted for the settlement was because those who were close to retirement were protected (in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) by the underpin.

Today, firefighters – and judges (!) – have won a legal case against the age discrimination implicit in protecting from adverse changes to pensions the older workers (who were least impacted) and not the younger workers (who were hardest hit).

The obvious implication of this decision of the Court of Appeal (which the Government will surely seek to appeal to the Supreme Court) is that younger members of public service pension schemes (who were excluded from “transitional protections” as the unions conceded detrimental changes to our pension schemes in 2012) could bring age discrimination claims.

This poses challenges to our trade unions who may be asked to support cases which implicitly criticise the settlements arrived at following ballot results in 2012 – but surely trade union support for claims of age discrimination would be better than leaving the field clear to “no win no fee” solicitors?

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