Sunday, June 17, 2012

Members (not Miserablists) to decide on pensions

Today the annual conference for UNISON members who work in Local Government opened in Bournemouth.

I no longer work in Local Government so this year I was not present but I will be down for the UNISON National Delegate Conference on Tuesday as the NEC member for Community.

However, as a long standing member of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) I was very pleased to hear that the Local Government conference today rejected calls to oppose the new proposed LGPS 2014 and it will now go out to consultation to all members.

Check my post here on "The new LGPS 2014 (and the old Miserablists)".

I did follow some of the debate via twitter on #ulgc12 and #undc12 and apart from the usual silly trolls I was surprised to see how some delegates who lost the vote and therefore disagreed with the democratic decision reacted by attacking their own union for being "cowardly"? Which does make me really wonder why they want to remain a member of an union they publicly attack in such abusive terms? Very strange?

Now the chief miserablists are attacking the union because they disagreed with the Chair of the Conference for not calling a "Card vote" on a motion. Which is different.  I admit that I was not there today but everyone I have contacted about the vote say that the decision by Conference (although close) was clear and a card vote should not have taken place. So I assume it is sour grapes as per usual by the miserablists.

One further point. I note that some of the miserablists, while complaining that they did not win the day, said never mind there was plenty of time to rubbish the new scheme to members before there is a new ballot? 

Hmmm? Do these people actually realise how important pensions are to ordinary working people? I may be wrong but I think that it is probable that the LGPS 2014 will be accepted. Now I think that would be a good decision and it the right of others to disagree. But what these others should be conscious of is that we have already the worse uptake of membership in the LGPS of any of the public sector schemes. Now, you might think that the scheme could be better but if you start rubbishing it and you get one member not join or leave the scheme as a consequence and die in absolute poverty then shame on you.

With pension auto-enrolling later this year and next we have an once in a life time opportunity to organise, recruit and persuade members to join a decent pension scheme. No matter what your views are of LGPS 2014 - don't attack it as a "bad" or "rubbish" scheme.  You think it could be better, which is an entirely different issue. Once this ballot is over (one way or another) we will all have a job of work to do to get our members to remain and join the scheme.

(picture above of some of those who should be deciding the future of the scheme by a secret ballot).

update: Check out UNISONactive take on yesterday

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