Unions angry over government’s public sector pensions delay

Unions have expressed their anger and concern over the government’s announcement to pause part of the valuations process for public service pensions.

The valuation process is about the government redressing previous overcharging by giving improved pension benefits to members in the scheme. Ministers claim they are suspending the valuation due to their appeal to the Supreme Court following a Court of Appeal judgement on the firefighters’ pension scheme last year.

The FBU successfully argued that the protection imposed on younger members was unlawful on age discrimination grounds. Their argument is that if this judgement stands, there will be precedent that applies to all the unfunded schemes and, as such, the current valuations are based on potentially incorrect figures.

Unions have today insisted the Treasury not suspend the valuations process and to proceed as planned, including addressing the rectification measures proposed by the relevant Scheme Advisory Boards.

TUC deputy general secretary Paul Nowak said: “Public sector workers have had years of real-terms pay cuts and job losses. They now face the danger of the government breaking its promises on pension benefits.

“Public sector pension schemes have been cheaper than expected. Under the agreed rules, which the government committed to for 25 years, this should mean lower contributions or improved pensions for members.

“But halting the valuation process leaves this in jeopardy. The government needs to stick to its own rules and deliver what it pledged.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “It is outrageous that the government is delaying and possibly denying pension improvements, when our members have been paying too much for too long, and for pensions which have been dwindling in value. Our members should not have to bear the brunt of government decisions to flout equality laws.”

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