By Vivienne Russell | 10 January 2012
The Unite trade union has rejected the government’s reform proposals for local government pensions, blaming a crisis of confidence and trust in Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
Unite’s local authority national industrial sector committee, which met yesterday, rejected the ‘principles document’ as a basis for a satisfactory outcome. This follows the union’s rejection of the NHS pensions offer last week.
Pickles claimed on December 20 that he had secured union agreement to some of the main reforms to the Local Government Pension Scheme. These included linking the retirement age to state retirement age, introducing a career-average scheme and an employer contribution ceiling of 10.9%.
But Unite said these changes had not been discussed with union negotiators, adding that Pickles’ assertions had severely dented the union’s trust in the government.
General secretary Len McCluskey said: ‘Unite's local authority representatives have lost trust after Eric Pickles let the government's real agenda out of the bag.
‘The security of our members in retirement is just too important to leave any space for doubt or mistrust, so the union's senior representatives in local government have rejected the government's proposals.
‘There now needs to be genuine discussions without arbitrary deadlines. Our members need clarity before we can move forward.’
Two teaching unions have also refused to agree to the government’s main points of pension reform.