Agreement reached over council pensions

| June 1, 2012
Agreement reached over council pensions

After months of talks, employers and trade unions have agreed to introduce career-average pension schemes for all 1.6 million local authority employees.

The proposed new scheme, known as LGPS 2014, would start in 2014 as the name suggests.

It would require higher paid staff to contribute significantly more to their pension than they do at present.

The deal must now be ratified by employers and union members, and approved by the government, before the changes can be introduced.

Heather Wakefield, of local government union Unison, said: “LGPS 2014 is a sustainable, defined-benefit scheme, which is designed to protect existing members and be affordable for the low paid and part-time workers who are its majority.”

Under the proposed scheme, the combined pension contributions of staff and employers would fall from 21.7 per cent of employee salaries to 19.5 per cent.

This would reduce the amount spent on local authority salaries by £600m a year.

Other groups of public sector workers have not yet reached an agreement with the government over pension reforms.

Doctors have voted to take industrial action against the proposed reforms on 21 June, a move they have not taken since 1975.

Rather than a full strike, it is expected that doctors will
postpone non-urgent work but will continue to provide urgent and emergency care.

The British Medical Association (BMA) balloted its members and found that the overall majority are in favour of taking industrial action.

Seventy-nine per cent of the 17,561 GPs who voted supported industrial action short of a strike, while 63 per cent endorsed strike action.

Out of the 18,721 consultants who voted, 84 per cent were in favour of industrial action short of strike, while 73 per cent were in favour of strike action.

The government wishes to introduce a career-average pension scheme for doctors, which would require them to contribute more to their pensions, work longer, and receive less in retirement, than on their current final-salary scheme.

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