Wednesday, August 01, 2012

UNISON Community e-news: Voting YES in LGPS ballot is "vital"

Community e-news

July 2012

UNISON’s e-newsletter for the Community service group

Vote “Yes” in the LGPS ballot

The leadership of UNISON’s Community service group is urging members to vote “YES” to accept the proposals for a new Local Government Pension Scheme.

Service Group chair Kevin Jackson said: “This is a vital vote for all our members in housing associations and charities.

·         If you are in the LGPS, then it’s a good deal, especially for part-time workers.

·         If you are not in the LGPS, then keeping a high quality scheme for public service workers will help put the brakes on other employers who want to ‘dumb down’ pension schemes.

·         If you are being TUPE-transferred then the “Fair Deal” for pensions is being beefed up to give you more protection too.

“Not all members are in the LGPS.  But we have to ballot everyone in employers which have some members in the LGPS.  We are also working hard to protect the Social Housing Pension Scheme and other pension schemes.  A high turnout in the ballot will send a message of strength to the government. 

Make sure you vote!

The ballot runs from 31 July to 24 August, and members can vote by post or online.  There is more information on

Pensions: Fight to keep schemes! and “auto-enrolment”

Members in the Social Housing Pension Scheme (Pensions Trust) need to be aware that their employers have been sent letters about the deficits in their pensions schemes which is causing some employers to panic and start talking of closing the scheme or massive increase in contributions.  There has also been some outrageous scaremongering by some financial “advisors” to schemes.  UNISON is arranging an urgent meeting with the Pensions Trusts.  In the meanwhile if your employers starts talking of any changes to your pension scheme please contact your branch and UNISON’s pensions unit immediately and ask your employer to send copies of what is being proposed.

Remember – the current pension so-called “deficits” are valued in a completely discredited and inaccurate manner which even the current Pensions minster has recognised is wrong and needlessly “killing” good pensions schemes. Remember closing a pension scheme does not get rid of any deficit - in fact it can make things worse.

Finally, for everyone, “auto-rolling” for pension schemes is starting from the end of this year. Nearly all employees who are currently not in a pension scheme will be automatically enrolled into the employer’s scheme or a state scheme. Now this may be “good news” for those not in a scheme but we are concerned about some employers who currently have decently funded defined contribution schemes (“final salary” or “career average” schemes) may be tempted to cut existing employer contributions, since they are worried about an increase in the pension bill from more people being in it.  We have to fight this as well. Pensions are expensive.  Employers’ have to realise that unless they want their staff to retire in poverty they have fund pensions properly.

Pensions are obviously not boring nor are they as complicated as you think. We need to have at least one UNISON Pension Champion (or contact) in every employer.  If you are interested in being a “Pension Champion” let us know and we will sort out some training for you on the role in the very near future.

(top two stories on pensions in this months Community e-news. Check out rest of news here on
campaigns and research against cuts and austerity; pay deals and employer reports from around the country; activity in regions; and a new chair for your service group executive).

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