15 July 2021

Pensions and pay are one issue: plan your local campaign

All PCS activists are urged to drive home the message that the value and protection of members’ pensions is a gravely serious issue that is inseparable from the matter of pay.

All PCS activists are urged to drive home the message in their branches and workplaces that the value and protection of members’ pensions is a gravely serious issue that is inseparable from the matter of pay.

Branches are being asked to form an organising and campaigning plan and hold all-members meetings about pay and pensions.

Pensions are particularly notorious for being difficult to understand, but the messages are simple. Pensions are deferred pay. Poor pay leads to poor pension provision and therefore has a significant on someone’s retirement. 

Moreover, members are currently being robbed by the government of reductions in their own pension contributions, and improved benefits, to which they are entitled. The government’s appalling behaviour has cost pension scheme members around £1,000 of their salaries so far. PCS is resisting and planning legal action, and members will be asked to get involved in campaigning against this ongoing outrage.

There can be a lack of sufficient awareness of the importance of pensions when it comes to considering the linked issue of pay. Reps and members should also remember:

  • The gender pay gap becomes the pension pay gap. Women are often further disadvantaged in that more women tend to work part-time and to work part-time for longer than men, usually as a result of being carers. Women are often hit twice in their career by both childcare and elder care.
  • When members move from part time to full-time working, or return from a career break, they will not be automatically prompted by their employer to consider increasing their pension contributions. They will need to explore this option themselves.
  • If earnings fall below the earnings level for National Insurance (£6,240 pa), members will not accrue state pension, which means their workplace pension is more important than ever. 
  • PCS offers a free financial consultation as a membership benefit (see below for details). Members should be made aware that they can take advice when considering decisions such as changing their hours, taking early or partial retirement, or having a career break, all of which have an impact on pensions. Having taken the financial advice, members are well advised to speak to a PCS rep before submitting their application to the employer. The union can advise on the content and the test that members will need to meet.

TAKE ACTION IN YOUR BRANCH:

  • Form an organising and campaigning plan and hold all-members meetings about the related issue of pay and pensions.
  • Look out for PCS region/nation briefings on pensions and how to campaign around the issue. 
  • Use discussions on pay and pensions to recruit colleagues to PCS – see our new why join page.
  • Sign up more PCS Advocates and allocate tasks to do in the pay and pensions campaign.  
  • Spread the word about membership benefits such as the free no-obligation consultation with Lighthouse Financial Advice. Initial consultations can be organised by contacting appointments@lighthousefa.co.uk or phoning 08000 858 590.

FIND OUT MORE:

Pensions robbery: the real cost to members

PCS pensions campaign

PCS pay campaign