Aberdeenshire UNISON

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Pensions Update 7 November 2013
Members vote 94% to 6% to accept new Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme

UNISON members have voted overwhelmingly to accept the new SLGPS scheme in the ballot which closed today.

The result was 94% to accept and 6% to reject.

UNISON will now sign the Heads of Agreement this month and move onto the detailed work on the regulations and the outstanding issues.

Further details in the next Scottish Pensions Bulletin

Many thanks to everyone who returned their ballot paper.


Pensions update October 2013
UNISON to ballot members on new scheme with recommendation to accept

VOTE NOW - Ballot closes 7th Nov. Don't for get you can vote on-line (see ballot paper)

Pensions ballotBallot papers have now been sent out to members who are conditioned to the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme with a closing date of 10am on 7 November 2013.

Any member who does not receive a ballot paper should contact UNISON Direct on 0845 355 0845.

UNISON is recommending that members vote to Accept the current proposals.
There will also be an explanatory leaflet that outlines the proposals. A copy of this leaflet is on the UNISON Scotland website along with the draft Heads of Agreement and other materials.

Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining said, "There were two outstanding issues at the last pension champions meeting. These have now been resolved.

"On pensionable pay it has been agreed that the definition will be amended to make it clear that additional hours below full time will qualify as pensionable pay.

"This means part-time staff will pay pension contributions and get a pension that reflects their actual, not just their contracted hours. Overtime beyond the normal working week will not be pensionable, as at present."

Stephen Smellie, Scotland's Vice Convenor added, "The draft Heads of Agreement also includes a commitment to improve the governance arrangements for the scheme and administering funds.

"These include a new scheme advisory board and pension boards at fund level with equal numbers of member and employer representatives. In addition, there will be a review of how funds are structured to ensure that they deliver the best possible returns for members."

Recruit a Friend!
Recruit a friendStephen added, "This agreement demonstrates very clearly the benefits of UNISON membership. Each member will also be invited to ‘Recruit a Friend’ using a special application form that will be sent out with the ballot or downloaded from our website. They could also win an IPad! Click here to find out more. Branches can also use these forms in the October recruitment campaign.

"In these negotiations we have worked to preserve the value of member’s pension. We believe the proposals will achieve a better pension for the vast majority of members with contributions unchanged.

"In other words, most members will get a bigger pension at no extra cost. This makes the Scottish LGPS the best value pension in the public sector."

Click here for more information on UNISON Scotland's Pensions page


Pensions update August 2013
Progress in talks as core benefits proposed

Dave Watson
Dave Watson
Stephen Smellie
Stephen Smellie

Talks on the new look Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) have resulted in core benefits for the new scheme. UNISON is a key member of the group negotiating on the new scheme, and our representatives are Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigning in Scotland and Stephen Smellie, Scottish Vice-Convener.

At a meeting on 7th August, Branch Pensions Champions were briefed on the proposals for the new scheme which comes into being in 2015.

Following legislative changes in the Westminster Parliament (see below) the new scheme has to be a CARE (career average) scheme, but the core benefits proposed include an accrual rate of 49ths; a number of other benefits, including all pay becoming pensionable; and member contributions remaining at 6.3% on average.

There are also plans to change the way the scheme is governed with proposals for equal member and employer representation. UNISON is arguing for a more radical reform of pension funds whilst the employer is defending the status quo. These discussions will continue.

A ballot of all UNISON members in the Local Government Pension Scheme is likely around October of this year.

Click here to read more in Pensions Bulletin 38


Pensions update June 2013
Negotiations at second stage

Delays in collating information means that the timetable for consultation and ballot on a new look scheme is delayed to August/September.

Click here for more information in Pensions Bulletin 37

Pensions update March 2013
Negotiations underway on Scottish scheme as UK Government changes go through

Negotiations are underway on a new look Local Government Pension Scheme for Scottish council workers as the UK Government presses forward with legislation.

The main change which the new scheme faces is that it must be a defined benefit ‘career average’ (CARE) scheme as final salary schemes will be unlawful.

Click here for full details in Pensions Bulletin 36


Pensions update Feb 2013
New LGPS seems likely despite action to oppose

Framework for LGPS Negotiations
Despite representations from UNISON Scotland and from members to their MPs and MSPs, it is looking as if the UK Public Service Pensions Bill will be passed as currently drafted.

This means that the current Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) will close in April 2015 and a new scheme negotiated. This will be heavily prescribed by the provisions of the Public Service Pensions Bill. This covers:

For further details see the UNISON Scotland Pensions Pages and the Pensions Bulletins

CARE Scheme
The new scheme must be a defined benefit ‘career average’ (CARE) scheme as final salary schemes will be unlawful.

CARE schemes are explained in this UNISON guide

Generally, final salary schemes benefit members who gain promotions later in their career. With CARE schemes the benefits are spread more evenly across the membership and are reasonably predictable but more complicated to calculate. There is a useful pictorial guide to CARE here.

There may be further constraints on the type of CARE scheme we can negotiate in Treasury regulations. However, it will certainly require consideration of a new accrual rate and restructuring the employee contribution bands. The revaluation rate is likely to be set by Treasury regulation.

It is important to emphasise that the contribution ‘tax’ imposed on other public sector schemes still does not apply to the Scottish LGPS.

Retirement age
The Normal Retirement Age (NRA) must be the same as the state retirement age. That is 66 from 2020, 67 from 2026-28 and after that linked to life expectancy estimates. This is likely to see the NRA rise to 70 and beyond.

For further details of these and other proposed changes click here.