Thursday, June 14, 2018

Why Pensions are so important and organising to defend the Local Government Pension Scheme

Today I had a record breaking 3 meetings on Pensions. First I chaired a meeting of Greater London UNISON reps who sit on local Council Pension Boards (see group picture of Forum members above).

UNISON has cross service group national and regional forums on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). The overriding purpose of these forums is to defend and improve the LGPS which 4 million UK workers depend upon and has £250 billion in assets.

We discussed:-

  • Support appropriate take up of the 50/50 option, especially for low paid workers who would otherwise leave the LGPS. Point out you still get full life insurance cover with 50/50
  • Recruiting and training for new reps; 
  • LGPS fund manager Baillie Gifford refusal to talk to trade unions about manufacturer Tesla's appalling  health & safety record.
  • Indemnity insurance for Pension board members. The saga continues. Why do some funds have it but others say it is not necessary? 
  • How to challenge inaccurate calculations of pensions (a rep reported that there has been some awful big mistakes made); 
  • Poor governance arrangements on some London Pension boards; 
  • Member representation on the London Pension Fund Authority
  • Access to UNISONs financial advice partner Lighthouse; 
  • Carbon divestment campaign. Branches and Climate campaigners need to work together. 
  • Carbon Neutral investment; 
  • New Minister for Local Government Pensions (who knows his stuff); 
  • 2018 LGPS PLSA conference; 
  • Millions of pounds of savings already made by London Pension funds due to UNISON's work on exposing excessive fees:
  • Problems with the London Collective Investment Vehicle (especially with Governance and ESG)
  • Disaster. The government wins legal appeal that they can force LGPS to invest in line with the whims of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. What could possibly go wrong?  
  • We finished with a minutes silence for the victims of Grenfell. 

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