Pensions - where are we now?
Following the conclusion of trade union consultations with their members the NHS pension scheme was discussed at the NHS Staff Council on 29 June 2012.
The last union to declare their position did so on 18 July 2012.
While most unions have rejected the proposals some union ballots had a majority to accept. Where member ballots have resulted in a rejection, low turnout levels mean that there is effectively no mandate to ballot members on industrial action. The RCN undertook a ballot of over 400,000 members. This resulted in a turnout of 16% with 62% indicating rejection (41,000 votes) and 38% acceptance (24,000 votes).
Professor Kath McCourt, Chair of RCN Council, said at the time: “…While the members who voted expressed a clear view, showing their anger at the government proposals, we are disappointed that more of our members did not take the opportunity to vote. ”
The position adopted by all the trade unions at the Staff Council was to move forward and to discuss all the outstanding issues that remain through the NHS Pension Scheme Governance Group. This means that discussions will now commence on the new section of the pension scheme. Up to June 28th trade unions had not engaged in any discussions about future arrangements. There is now a series of meetings scheduled throughout the summer and autumn to progress this work.
The RCN position remains that we have rejected the proposals. We will continue to challenge the imposition of linking the normal pension age to the state pension age. As well as this, work will commence shortly on the ‘Working Longer Review’ a key part of the proposals that members were consulted on. In February Dr Carter made the members views about working longer clear:
“Throughout this process, our members’ number one concern about pensions has been the prospect of working in a physically demanding job until the age of 68; which is due to take effect in 2046. The Government has acknowledged the physical demands of professions such as the police, who are not facing the prospect of working until they are nearly 70. We vehemently believe the demands of nursing mean that the same should apply to our profession and we are committed to stepping up campaigning on this issue to make the Government change its mind.”
Work on widening access to the NHS pension scheme when services are transferred from the NHS to new providers has already commenced within the Staff Passport Group and is expected to report over the summer
The RCN recognises that different audiences need different kinds of information at different times when they engage with pensions issues.
The RCN Pensions page is designed to signpost you to RCN resources within the website. Select, from below, the information you are looking for.
For RCN activists facing queries from members, the RCN activist guidance on pensions page provides advice on how to help members with pensions queries.
If you are interested in the latest or archived information relating to the RCN's work in promoting the best deal for members in the fight for fair pensions, go to: pay and conditions pensions page.
Please go to the public sector pensions overpayment advice page for the latest information on this topic. Read more, including the questions and answers document on the NHS Business Services Authority website or telephone the Government helpline: 0845 6101115 (local rate calls)