Monthly Archives: April 2016

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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