No strike ballot on pensions in England
English and Welsh delegates to a special Local Government Conference
in London on 6th March, voted by a majority to continue negotiations
on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) south of the border
and ruled out a strike ballot at this stage.
Your branch delegates to the conference were Ian McDonald and Kate
Ramsden. They heard that the negotiations so far have resulted in
many improvements on the original proposals from the employers and
the scheme as it stands has many benefits for lower paid workers,
who form a majority of the scheme members. Talks are continuing
to press for further improvements.
Those calling for a strike ballot argued that members who turned
out in March 2006 to oppose the loss of the Rule of 85 feel let
down by the new scheme and would be prepared to vote for another
round of strike action to give backbone to the negotiations.
Delegates arguing against a strike ballot at this stage pointed
out that, as in Scotland, there will be a full consultation of members
through ballot on whether or not to accept the finalised scheme.
If members are not happy with the proposals a strike ballot will
be held then.
Scottish and Irish delegates were not allowed to vote as the conference
focussed exclusively on the LGPS in England and Wales. However,
much of the debate was relevant to the Scottish position where we
may be faced with similar decisions once the proposals for the "new
look" scheme in Scotland are finalised.
The conference also highlighted the need for all the schemes to
be "equality proof" in relation to gender, race and disability,
and spelled out some of the challenges for our Scottish negotiators.
further information on the LGPS in England and Wales click here.