UNISON to ballot health members over pensions

by - 22nd March 2012, 10.32 BST

UNISON is to ballot its 450,000 health members over the government’s proposals for a new NHS pension scheme.

The ballot will begin on the 11th April and close on 27 April and health workers including nurses, therapists, paramedics, cooks, cleaners and porters will be asked if they want accept or reject the proposed pension agreement as the best that can be achieved through negotiations.

UNISON head of health Christina McAnea said: “When the ballot papers go out our members they will be asked if they accept or reject the new pension proposals for the NHS scheme.

“The union will be giving full and open information on what it will mean for individual members’ pensions, so they are in the best position to make an informed decision.

“We are still disappointed that the proposals don’t meet all our aspirations for health workers, particularly around the retirement age. But the ballot papers will also recognise that rejecting the offer would require members to take further industrial action.

“We have given a commitment from day one that it is for our members to decide and we are keeping to that commitment. This is a massive consultation exercise far bigger than any other in the trade union movement.”

Changes to the pension scheme include:

* The pension proposals maintain a defined benefit scheme with a move towards career average in 2015.

* Health workers earning less than £26,000 a year will not see an increase in their pension payments this year.

* All benefits built up in existing schemes will be protected and will maintain the final salary link at retirement. * Scheme members within 10 years of retirement will receive protection.