PUBLIC SECTOR PENSIONS

INTRODUCTION
The government is proposing to alter public sector pensions following the independent public service pensions commission review led by Lord Hutton. Changes have already been made to the rate of indexation for public sector pensions from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) with effect from 5 April 2011. Further changes proposed include raising the normal retirement age and increasing employee contribution rates.

REASON FOR CAMPAIGN
The government is proposing to change public sector pensions in a way that means employees will work longer; receive less pay; pay more into their pensions and receive less on retirement. This affects Nautilus members employed by the civil service through:

  • MCA
  • RFA
  • NOCS
  • NEWRC
  • Trinity House
  • Northern Lighthouse
  • Port of London Authority

The PSLG campaign is based on evidence that shows the public service pension provision is affordable and sustainable. This is a direct result of the recent reforms to implement cost-sharing and cost-capping mechanisms in these schemes as well as introducing new benefit structures with higher normal pension ages for new entrants. Revisiting public service pension provision, before the mechanisms of the agreement to cap and share the costs have even been implemented, is not a sensible course. Cost-capping and cost-sharing will work, but must be given time to work.

The government’s preferred approach will see most members’ contributions increase by around 1.6% (salary range £30,001 to £50,000) in the year 2012/13. This means that an average member of the Classic Scheme would pay a contribution rate of 3.1% and members of the Premium NUVOS and Classic Plus Schemes would pay 5.1%.

ACTION

Nautilus International is urging members who serve with government agencies to have their say on final proposals tabled by the government to change public sector pensions.

The government has now altered those proposals and made its final offer for the new Civil Service Pension Scheme.

If the discussions at national level break down and the government moves to unilaterally impose the pension changes, then the Union will conduct a ballot of members to see if they want to pursue a collective grievance against the changes — beginning with the appropriate internal company collective grievance procedures.

We backed a submission to the 2010 review, now closed, made by the union Prospect (representing professional, managerial, technical and scientific staff in the public sector). Read the Submission by Prospect to the review of public service pension provision.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Write to your MP
Ensure your MP is aware of the impact this decisions will have on you, as a member of their constituency. Backbench MPs can be very helpful in bringing pressure to bear on ministers and we urge all members to seeks their MP’s support for meaningful negotiations to achieve a fair outcome. Below is a sample letter and details of how to email it.


Sample letter

Dear [MP’s title]

I am writing about the Government’s announcement of pension contribution increases for public sector workers. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility's 'Fiscal sustainability report' showed that these schemes are sustainable (gross cost falling from 2% of GDP now to 1.4% of GDP by 2060).

Therefore I reject the Government's argument that this move is about putting these schemes on a sustainable path. Work in the UK shipping industry is extremely competitive given the lack of skilled British seafarers. Making the public sector pension scheme less attractive – on top of the current pay freeze – means that public sector seafarers are considerably less well off than their colleagues in the private sector. This will make it difficult for the public sector to recruit and retain British seafarers in the future.

I am not arguing that no change can be considered. I support the unions’ participation in public service pension discussions and would like you to urge the government to make these negotiations meaningful to avoid any potential action in November.

I would be grateful if you could write to me explaining how you will progress my concerns with the government. Thank you for your time

Yours sincerely

contact your MP

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