UNISON to ballot members over NHS pension plans

by - 22nd March 2012, 13.17 BST


UNISON is to ballot almost half a million NHS members over the government’s proposals for a new career average pension scheme.

The ballot will begin on the 11th April and close on 27 April.

UNISON says the ballot will include nurses, therapists, paramedics, cooks, cleaners and porters.

The ballot question will asked if they want accept or reject the proposed pension agreement as the best that can be achieved through negotiations.

Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Health, said: “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 £26,558 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.

UNISON Scotland has called a series of days of targeted strike action in an attempt to secure negotiations with the SNP government over the proposed increase in staff contribution rates which is due to take effect from 1st April.

Senior GMB health officials have also indicated they intend to consult members on what Coalition ministers describe as their final proposals on pensions.

In a consultative ballot, Unite members have voted to reject the revised NHS pension proposals and will be taking part in protest demonstrations next Wednesday (28th March).

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