NHS unions agree to put pension deal to members

19 Dec 11
NHS trade unions have reached an initial agreement with the government over changes to staff pensions.

By Richard Johnstone | 19 December 2011

NHS trade unions have reached an initial agreement with the government over changes to staff pensions.

The move follows a day of final negotiations over the reforms planned for the four main public sector schemes, which will make staff pay more and retire later. Today was the government’s deadline for deals to be struck, as Chief Secretary Danny Alexander is set to update the House of Commons tomorrow, on its last day of business this year.

A Treasury spokeswoman would not confirm the NHS deal, saying that negotiations in all schemes were continuing.

However, it is also believed that a similar agreement for local government scheme reforms has been struck.

Teaching unions have said that negotiations will continue ‘in the later hours of this evening’, while one civil service union, Prospect, has agreed to put the ‘main elements’ of a new scheme to its executive committee. This follows the formal offer today of a new scheme for 600,000 civil servants, to start in April 2015.

However, the deal has been rejected by the Public and Commercial Services union, which has called for further industrial action.

The 15 union-strong NHS Staff Council says that the current government offer will be put to their members, as it represents ‘the best that can be achieved by negotiations’.

Under the proposals, those fewer than ten years away from retirement would not face any change to their pension, and those earning less than £26,000 would be protected from an increase in contributions next year.

Unison’s head of health, Christina McAnea, said: ‘This is the government’s final offer. On some issues – such as contribution rates for the low paid next year, and for people close to retirement – we have made progress. On others, we always knew this would be a damage limitation exercise.’

Rehana Azam, GMB national officer, said that there was still much detail to agree on an NHS deal, but that negotiations had led to ‘movements in some areas’ from government.


CIPFA logo

PF Jobsite logo

Did you enjoy this article?