20 December 2011
These are forcing public servants to pay hundreds of pounds more each year in pensions contributions; to work for up to eight years longer and to receive much less in retirement - in many cases, tens of thousands of pounds less
It’s not true - as some commentators have implied - that all the other unions involved have signed up to the government’s proposal.
Civil service pension scheme
PCS has talked of more strikes if the core issues are not resolved.
NIPSA - the biggest public sector union in Northern Ireland - says it "will be working with our colleagues in PCS to determine if further action in respect of civil service pensions is possible."
Prospect, which also represents civil servants, says on its website: ”Prospect has agreed to enter a further round of talks on the government's plans to change the civil service pension scheme.
“But while it has suspended industrial action for the duration of the talks, it has reserved the right to take further action if the talks break down.”
The FDA union, which represents senior civil servants and tax collectors, said: “The FDA has not at this stage agreed to a new scheme, only that the negotiations have reached a point where the key elements will be put to our executive committee at a later date, following further negotiations on a number of outstanding issues.
“No agreement will be concluded until all members have had their say in a ballot.”
The Prison Officers' Association has told the government "that the POA would not endorse the 'heads of agreement' as outlined in their formal offer until there has been a suitable conclusion to our negotiations on the normal pension age."
(UPDATE - Wednesday 21 December) The Union News website is reporting that Unite has said it was "bounced" into signing the civil service pensions scheme agreement and suspended talks with the government.
Teachers' pension scheme
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said : “Following lengthy discussions the NUT was not able to sign up to the government’s headline proposals.
“ There was insufficient progress in terms of the government’s position that teachers should work longer, pay more and get less.
"In the NUT we reserved our position due to lack of progress but also the lack of documentation in certain critical areas.”
The NASUWT teaching union says on it s website: “The NASUWT has not signed the Department for Education heads of agreement document and has reserved its position, insisting on further information from the government.”
In a detailed statement general secretary Chris Keates says the government still wants teachers “to pay more, receive less and work longer for their pensions.”
Chris goes on: “Teachers would expect their negotiators to insist on a detailed examination of the implications of the DfE’s proposals and to exercise due diligence. In the timescale imposed by the government, this simply was not possible.”
UCAC - a Welsh teachers union - decided not to sign an agreement with the government. General secretary Elaine Edwards said: “The talks have been constructive; but the latest proposals still don’t fully address the principal concerns of UCAC’s members. We cannot agree to this proposal without further discussion."
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: "Following extensive talks with government officials UCU, together with the NUT, UCAC, and NASUWT, has decided to reserve its position on the proposed agreement."
Local government pension scheme
On Tuesday 20 December Unison, GMB, and Unite - the UK's three biggest unions - suspended the agreement they had made with the government over the local government pension scheme.
On Wednesday 21 December Unison and the GMB said talks were "back on track".
The Union News website reported that Unite had suspended talks until January.
Health service pension scheme
In the health talks the workers' representatives signed up to the “heads of agreement” but expressed concerns saying: “The staff side are clear that there are important issues still to be resolved and that the final decision on agreeing or otherwise will be taken by each union in line with their own democratic processes."
The statement was issued on behalf of the British Association of Occupational Therapists, British Dental Association, British Dietetics Association, British Medical Association, British and Irish Orthoptic Society, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Federation of Clinical Scientists, GMB, Hospital Consultants and Specialist Association, Managers in Partnership, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, Society of Radiographers, and Unison.
Unison - the biggest health union - said: "The document is not an agreement or a deal."
The POA is not part of the negotiating body but represents workers in secure psychiatric hospitals. The union said: "Our members at Ashworth, Broadmoor, Carstairs and Rampton will be consulted to determine what is acceptable to them."