LGPS Petition

Sign the UNISON promoted petition urging Parliament to debate plans giving ministers power to tell members pension funds where to invest their money:

 

Click here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125475

Over 32,000 people have signed UNISON’s parliamentary petition calling for MPs topetition debate government plans to tell local government pension funds that they have to invest members’ money in infrastructure projects.

That success has been achieved in little more than five days since the petition went live and means that the government has to respond to the petition. As of yet no response has been made.

At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament. Some five million people rely on the Local Government Pension Scheme to pay their pension.

But Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to force the individual pension funds to invest in infrastructure, as an alternative to direct government funding of the schemes – even if this doesn’t give the best return for scheme members’ pensions.

That is why UNISON has launched the petition calling for a parliamentary debate on the matter.

The government has launched a consultation on the issue, and UNISON’s response to this makes it clear that the union is not against LGPS funds investing in infrastructure.

But UNISON does believe that investment decisions should be made by the funds and their members, not ministers.

And it adds that the decision must “be made in the best interests of scheme members when these conflict with those of employers or government”.

The union also queries whether the government has the legal right to do what it is suggesting.

The consultation response points out that the regulations covering occupational pension schemes do not give ministers a power of intervention, while the relevant EU directive says that member states “shall not require institutions located in their territory to invest in particular categories of assets.”

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NJC pay – Latest Update

The Employers’ Side of the NJC met on 1 April to discuss the proposal by the three unions for a one-year deal and agreed timetables for implementation of the reviews of term-time working and the pay spine. In response, they said that they are not prepared to make a one-year offer and have only offered a Joint Secretaries meeting to establish a tiMoneymetable for the reviews. The Employers’ letter is attached here.

UNISON’s NJC Committee met yesterday to consider the Employers’ response. After a lengthy discussion, the Committee voted to continue to pursue the option of taking industrial action later this year. UNISON’s Industrial Action Committee will consider the Committee’s request for a ballot for all-out strike action on 13 April.

Unite also have a mandate for selective action on pay and will be meeting on 21 April to consider next steps. GMB members have now voted to accept the two-year pay offer by 9:1.

As UNISON and Unite remain in dispute over this year’s pay offer, the reviews of term-time working and the pay spine will not start until pay is settled.

The Employers’ response is extremely disappointing. The NJC needs to get on with the important work of reforming the pay spine to deal with the inconsistencies in pay and grading structures caused by the real Living Wage and the National Living Wage. School support staff have waited too long for a review of term time working too.

However, the pay offer means that 60% of NJC employees would receive just 1% in 2016 and in 2017, meaning the value of your pay will fall even further. More than half of the cost of our pay claim could be met from the higher tax and National Insurance income that would come from meeting our claim and from reduced in-work benefits.

The higher increases proposed on the lower pay scales are to ensure that employers comply with the National Living Wage law and to ‘front-load’ some of the increase to meet the £9.35 level which will be needed by 2020. Members have to be paid this – whether or not they were included in the LGA’s offer.

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Lambeth Library Protest

Lambeth UNISON are holding a demonstration to oppose the closure of libraries on Saturday. The demonstration will meet at the (occupied) Carnegie Library in Herne Hill at 11.30am and will march to Brixton (via Minet library which the Council closed last week).Libarary

You can read more about the community campaign to defend all ten of Lambeth’s libraries online at http://defendthe10-lambeth.org.uk/.

You can also read UNISON’s statement in support of the community campaign and in response to the occupation of Carnegie library on 31 March at http://lambeth-unison.org/2016/03/31/unison-statement-on-the-occupation-of-carnegie-library/.

UNISON members in Lambeth libraries have been taking official strike action against the job losses associated with the plans to close libraries (and you can read about the most recent strike action online at http://lambeth-unison.org/2016/03/23/report-lambeth-libraries-shut-for-two-days-by-strike-action-to-save-the-local-service/).

Their action, and the pressure of the community campaign, has already won concessions from the Council – but the Council remains determined to close both Carnegie and Minet libraries and replace them with gyms (which local people would have to pay to use) with (unstaffed) areas in which books will be available to borrow.

Messages of support to the community campaign, which will reach those occupying Carnegie library, can be sent to lambethlibrariescampaign@gmail.com

Further information is available from the Branch Secretary, Jon Rogers at:

Lambeth UNISON
International House
Canterbury Crescent
LONDON SW9
jrogers@lambeth.gov.uk
j.rogers@unison.co.uk

 

 

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Local Government Pension Scheme Please Sign Our Parliamentary Petition

The government wants to use the money in your pension funds to invest in their pet infrastructure projects. This potentially puts at risk the money that should be used to pay your pensions. There has been no debate in Parliament over this issue and we need to try and make sure it gets debated.

We have established a Parliamentary petition which requires 100,000 signatures to get a debate in the House of Commons.

You can sign it by clicking here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125475/signatures/new  the text below describes the petition.

Now pass it on to a colleague – they don’t have to be a UNISON member to sign!

Debate in the House the Local Government Pension Scheme Investment Regulations

5 million people rely on the LGPS to pay their pensions. Government wants powers over LGPS investment funds, but they could gamble away members’ money on infrastructure projects. This is not allowed in any other UK scheme, including the MPs’. The LGPS must be invested in members’ best interests.

Parliament must debate this issue and make the government accountable for these powers of intervention as any such direction may breach the law. Specifically Article 18 paragraph 3 of the EU Directive 41/2003 Institutions for Occupational Retire Provision: “Member States shall not require institutions located in their territory to invest in particular categories of assets.”

 

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Kensington and Chelsea Retired Members’ AGM and Lunch 2016

Once again our AGM and lunch was well attended and enjoyed by our members. This was the third successful gathering since introducing an annual general meeting with our retired members’ lunch. The lunch has been a long standing branch tradition since NALGO days. Reports, motions and speakers were all listened to with interest.

 

The buffet lunch

Members arriving

Members arriving taking their places

Raffle and AGM

Apart from the AGM and lunch we have also arranged a number of social visits and outings for retired members. Last summer these included a visit to the BBC, a trip to the BP Portrait Awards at the National Gallery and a day trip to Margate. We hope to continue in the same vein for years to come!

 

Our members are very supportive of our efforts on their behalf and are very appreciative of the hard work the Branch Retired Members’ Committee does throughout the year.

 

Verena Beane and Sue Clark (Joint Secretaries K&C Retired Members)

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International Women’s Day

Reclaim International Women’s Day

Saturday 12th March 2016

2.00pm – 5.00pm

NUT Headquarters Hamilton House Mabledon Place London WC1H 9BDWomen's Day Pciture

International Women’s Day began as a socialist political event to promote equal rights, women’s wages and suffrage for all women. It was founded to commemorate a strike of textile workers. IWD has it’s origins firmly rooted in the Trade Union Movement and the fight for equality.

Join us in a celebration of a woman’s place in her Union and remember those fantastic women who fought for suffrage and equality.

Speakers

Megan Dobney Secretary of SERTUC

Sarah Jackson co- author of East London Suffragettes Voices from History

Councillor Racheal Blake Tower Hamlets Council

Louise Raw author of The History of the Match Women’s Strike

More speakers to be announced soon.

To find out more about Reclaim International Women’s Day, to request a speaker for your trades union council or union branch and to register a place contact:

s.aitouaziz@hotmail.co.uk

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Pay Update – UNISON Reject Offer

The National Joint Council [NJC] Committee is recommending rejection of the offer

UNISON and Unite are both rejecting the offer and balloting for industrial action. GMB is not making aPay recommendation to its members.

Why should members reject the pay offer?

The NJC Committee is recommending that members reject the offer because:

– 60% of NJC employees on scale point 18 and above will receive just 1% on I April in 2016 and 2017

– The offer is for two years. RPI inflation currently stands at 1% but is predicted to rise to as much as 3% in 2017 and 3.3% in 2018. This means that the value of your pay will decline even further

– The higher increases on scale points 6 – 17 have been made to ensure that the lowest paid NJC employees reach the level of the statutory National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour on 1 April 2016

– These higher increases are to ensure that employers comply with the National Living Wage law. Members would have to be paid them – whether or not they were included in the offer – although some of the increase necessary in future years has been brought forward

– The higher rises on the lower pay scales are also to ensure that employers ‘keep ahead’ of further rises needed to reach the National Living Wage rate in 2020 – likely to be £9.35 an hour

Consultation

The Branch will be carrying out a consultation on the employer’s offer in the next week to gauge how our members feel about the offer.

– In any case, almost two thirds of councils are now paying the real Living Wage of £7.85 pence an hour and £9.15 pence in London, so they would not face the cost of the National Living Wage. The employers’ estimate of the cost of our claim is over-inflated

– Members in the LGPS will start paying 1.4% National Insurance contributions from 1 April 2016 when ‘contracting out’ ends, reducing the pay offer further

– More than half of the cost of our claim for the real Living Wage for the lowest paid and £1 an hour for everyone above that rate would be met from higher tax and National Insurance income and reduced benefit costs. (Attached is research showing that, produced for us by the New Policy Institute)

– Many employers are cutting sick pay, annual leave and other NJC conditions. The employers refused to meet our claim for future protection of these conditions

We are currently working on calculations of the impact of the removal of contracting out from National Insurance on the two years of the offer. These will be made available as soon as possible.

 

 

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