Stop the pensions robbery, reduce contributions by 2%

09 Aug 2019

PCS is demanding the government takes urgent action to give tens of thousands of civil servants the pensions reductions they are owed.

Changes made by the government to civil service pensions in 2015 meant that everyone had to work longer to get their pension, pay more and then get less on retirement.

At the time the government promised that in 4 years it would do a pension valuation and if members had overpaid, they would get that money back. The valuation done last year showed that members have massively overpaid.

In a meeting with the Cabinet Office last month, PCS made it clear that the money due to PCS members from the pension valuation – a minimum of 2% every month – should be paid immediately. Their decision to suspend the valuation is unacceptable when members have been overpaying by at least 2% every month.

The successful case brought by the Fire Brigades Union against the government, that proved that the changes, the so-called Transitional Protection arrangements, brought in to their pensions were discriminatory on the grounds of age, mean that the government must look again at every public sector pension scheme.

PCS has demanded from the Cabinet Office that all future pension changes will be negotiated with PCS, and they have agreed.

On 15 July the then Treasury Minister, Liz Truss stated that the government now accepts the legal judgment about age discrimination, and that:

“As “transitional protection“ was offered to members of all the main public service pension schemes, thegovernment believes that the difference in treatment will need to be remedied across all those schemes”.

The government will now need to put forward a remedy at employment tribunal.

How will this affect my pension entitlements?

PCS is now in talks with the Cabinet Office and the Treasury about the basis of the remedy to be put forward by them to the Employment Tribunal. At a meeting with the Cabinet Office on 18 July, PCS demanded that the remedy involves 6 key points:

  • No detriment to members` existing pension entitlement.
  • Choice for members to ensure their pensions are maximised.
  • An outcome which means all those not included in transitional protection will be better off.
  • Full attention to equality requirements, including impact assessments.
  • Commitment to full negotiations on all aspects.
  • That recommendations for remedies about the valuation outcome (Cost cap breach) must be implemented now, giving members at least 2% contribution reductions and benefit improvements.

How is PCS campaigning on pensions?

PCS continues to campaign with other public service trade unions and the TUC, and we argued for our position in clear terms at a TUC organised meeting of these unions with Treasury Officials on 23 July. It was agreed that, as the picture becomes more defined and specific, further meetings will take place both on the general position across public service schemes but also for each sector.

For more on pensions read our Q&As: one for existing employees and one for pensioners.

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