PCS has welcomed today’s declaration that more than 6,000 firefighters are entitled to return to their pre-2015 pension schemes and we will now make representations to the Cabinet Office about its implications for civil service schemes.
Today’s decision is an interim declaration which will cover immediate cases, such as those who have taken ill-health retirement, with a final declaration in July. It will apply to firefighters who joined the fire and rescue service before 1 April 2012.
The government had already stated that members of all other public service pension schemes, including those in the civil service pension schemes, will be treated the same as the claimants in these cases. This is because they had accepted a “read across” of the legal judgment to all those who are disadvantaged by not receiving the transitional protection applied to older workers. PCS is actively working on the programme of action for correcting this unlawful age discrimination.
Seeking quick engagement
In July, the government admitted it had spent £495,000 on legal costs fighting to maintain discriminatory pensions, while the total annual cost of applying the ruling across the public sector could be up to £4 billion.
Earlier this week we announced that following last week’s general election we are planning to engage quickly with the chief secretary to the Treasury to call for the immediate end to civil servants overpaying for their pensions and secure other pension improvements.
At the moment our members pay 2% more every month than they should, so we’ve told the government that members need to have their contributions reduced in addition to any above inflation pay rises that we negotiate. But the government had refused to act, suspending the revaluation for over a year as a result of the brilliant, successful case brought by the Fire Brigades Union against the government.
PCS is demanding the money due to members from the pension valuation – a minimum of 2% every month – should be paid immediately. We will be liaising closely with the TUC about the position, and considering the possibility of legal action if the suspension continues. Our national executive committee will meet in early 2020 to review the position.