Tuesday, 3 April 2012

UNISON Health members to be balloted on final NHS pensions proposals

UNISON members in Health are being balloted on whether or not to accept the proposals for their new pension, or to reject and take further sustained industrial action. The ballot opens on 11th April and closes on 27th April. Make sure you vote.

Summary of the proposals

The proposed scheme would change your pension in the following ways:

  • Move from a final salary structure to a Career average revalued earnings (or Care) scheme; your pension will be based on a proportion of your wages each year, increased to take account of inflation;

  • Move to an increased accrual rate of 1/54 which would mean that 1/54th of your pensionable pay would count towards your pension rather than 1/80th in the 1995 section of the current scheme and 1/60th in the 2008 section;

  • Increase your normal pensionable age by linking it to the state pension age – this would currently mean that from 2015 your retirement age would increase to 65, moving up to 68 by 2046;

  • Extending Fair Deal to allow you to stay in the pension scheme if you are TUPE transferred to a non-NHS employer in the future;

  • The new proposals would be effective from 2015, with all pension rights accrued up to that point fully protected and payable from your current pensionable age, whether that is 55, 60 or 65;

  • And if you are within 10 years of that pension age now, you would remain in your current scheme with no change to your retirement age. There is also ‘tapered’ protection if you are between 10 and 13.5 years from your normal pension age.

Pension contributions

Contribution increases (the amount you pay towards your pension) have been imposed for 2012 – but not for those whose Full Time Equivalent (FTE) earnings (for a full-time job) are less than £26,558. Contributions were increased by 1.5% for people with FTE earnings between £26,558 and £48,982 and increased by 2.4% for those with FTE earnings of more than £48,982.

Increases for 2013-14 and 2014-15 have not yet been set, but indicative figures (tiered so those earning less pay a smaller proportion) are included in the ministers’ proposals.

The proposals also include a commitment that the scheme would be set in legislation and there would be no further reform for 25 years.

Recommendation from your UNISON Health service group executive committee

The position of your service group executive committee is that the proposals are the best that can be achieved through negotiation. This is because the proposals fall short of what the union wanted to achieve for you. Improving these proposals would require a commitment from you to take further – and sustained – industrial action, and it is important that we know whether this is something you are willing to undertake.

Check our pensions calculator at www.unison.org.uk/pensions/yourpension.asp to see how the changes affect you.

Link to a Short guide to the proposed new NHS pension scheme:

Link to a Full guide to the proposed new NHS pension scheme: http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/20704.pdf

If you are not happy with the final deal you need to reject it and be prepared to take further, sustained industrial action.

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