Friday 6 January 2012

Rebellion against pensions "deal" grows

Yesterday it was announced that the Unite Health Sector Committee had voted unanimously to reject the Heads of Agreement. They join the PCS in saying no to a deal which gives the unions none of their main demands. In addition some 50 Unison NEC and Service Group Executive members, and branch activists have signed the statement below. Why we say ‘no deal’ on pensions “These agreements deliver the government’s key objectives in full, and do so with no new money since our November offer. These reforms will save the taxpayer tens of billions of pounds over the next few decades and significantly improve the long-term fiscal sustainability of this country.” Danny Alexander As UNISON representatives and ordinary members we do not believe that the “Heads Of Agreement” on public sector pensions form the basis for settling our dispute with the government over our future pensions. The agreements would ultimately deliver the government’s agenda of making public sector workers work longer, pay more and get less in our pensions. The key elements the government has wanted to impose remain intact: • Increased Employee Contributions • A Retirement Age rising in line with the State Pension Age to at least 68 • Replacement of final salary with worse career average schemes • Pensions devalued by uprating them in line with the Consumer Price Index instead of Retail Price Index, cutting their value by 15% The agreement is based on the Treasury’s “final offer” issued on 2 November, which allows for negotiation on elements in each pension scheme but within a fixed “cost ceiling”. As Francis Maude has made clear “The cost ceiling has not changed. We have not put an extra penny on the table”. On 30 November we took part in the largest strike action in at least a generation, in an unprecedented display of unity across public sector unions. Dave Prentis rightly proclaimed it “an incredible success and one of the proudest moments of my career”. We believe it is a fundamental mistake only a few weeks later to allow the government to now play divide and rule. This can only make it easier for them to push through the cuts in our pensions as part of their wider austerity programme of real pay cuts and massive job losses, making working people pay the price for a crisis created by bankers’ greed. There is too much at stake to allow the Con Dems to pick off unions one at a time or to seek to isolate others as they are clearly attempting to do with the PCS. We therefore call on UNISON’s Service Group Executives to reject the “Heads of Agreement” and instead call for the resumption of further coordinated public sector strikes to defend decent pensions for all public sector workers. All signatories in personal capacity Diana Leach​National Executive Council Helen Davies​National Executive Council Jon Rogers​National Executive Council & Branch Secretary Lambeth LG Branch Bernie Gallagher​National Executive Council & Branch Secretary Bolton Metropolitan Branch Roger Bannister​National Executive Council & Branch Secretary Knowsley LG Branch Karen Reissmann​National Executive Council & Health Service Group Executive Paul Holmes​National Executive Council, LG Service Group Executive & Branch Secretary Kirklees Max Watson​National Executive Council & Higher Education Service Group Executive Janet Maiden​Health Service Group Executive & Chair UCLH Sandy Nicoll​Higher Education Service Group Executive & Branch Secretary SOAS Branch Matthew Raine​Higher Education Service Group Executive member (West midlands) David Buss​Local Government Service Group Executive David Hughes​Local Government Service Group Executive Jane Armitage​Local Government Service Group Executive Richard Buckwell​Local Government Service Group Executive & Branch Sec Ashfield LG Branch Sonya Howard​Local Government Service Group Executive & Branch Secretary Kensington & Chelsea Lindsay Williams​Local Government Service Group Executive & Branch Secretary Portsmouth City John McLoughlin​Local Government Service Group Executive & Branch Secretary Tower Hamlets LG Mark Evans​ Local Government Service Group Executive & Branch Secretary Carmarthenshire County Terry Conway​Community Service Group Executive Alex Knutsen​Branch Secretary Brighton LG Branch George Binette​Branch Secretary Camden LG Branch Gavin Mott​Branch Secretary Hounslow LG Branch Paul Cooney​Branch Secretary Huddersfield Healthcare Branch Jim Board​Branch Secretary Doncaster LG Branch Caroline Ridgway​Co-Branch Secretary, Manchester Community & Mental Health Branch Brian Mulvey​Branch Secretary Leeds LG Branch Tony Phillips​Branch Secretary London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority Branch Suzannah Franklin​Branch Secretary Plymouth NHS Trust Health Branch Vik chichi​Branch Secretary QMUL Branch Paul Couchman​Branch Secretary Surrey County Branch Naomi Bain​Chair Birkbeck Branch Andy Richards​Chair Brighton LG Branch Nick Ruff​Chair Kirklees LG Branch Alan Daw​Chair Rotherham Health Branch. Barry Walden​Co Chair Camden LG Branch Phoebe Watkins​Co Chair Camden LG Branch & Greater London Regional Local Govt Tim Sneller​Chair Southend LG Branch Mick Ryan​Asst Branch Secretary Kirklees LG Branch Andy Cunningham​Asst Branch Secretary Manchester Metropolitan University Branch MarshaJane Thompson​Asst Secretary Havering LG Branch & Gr. London Regional LG Executive Tony Barnsley​Joint Assistant Branch Secretary Sandwell General Branch Matthew Shephard​Publicity Officer City and County of Swansea Branch David Kersey​Communications Officer Coventry LG Branch Sam O'Brien​Communications Officer Rochdale UNISON LG Branch Dave Fellows​Convenor for School Support Staff East Sussex Area Branch Sue Bowes​Membership Officer, Brighton & Hove LG branch Steve Squibbs​Branch Convenor, Hampshire UNISON Shirley Ford​Branch Equalities Officer South Tyneside LG Eran Cohen​Young Members Officer Homerton Hospital Branch Shona McCulloch​Young Members' Officer University of Sussex Branch Linda Burnip​Unison retired member and Disabled People Against Cuts

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