PCS says it will not accept £6k cuts imposed on members

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, PCS,

war gravesStaff who tend the nation’s war graves face having thousands of pounds cut from their pensions.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission – which looks after cemeteries and memorials in 154 countries and maintains a register of all Commonwealth casualties from the two world wars – wants to break the final salary link for the calculation of benefits for staff from next March.

The move would see retirement packages cut by £6,000 a year on average and would take effect just months ahead of next July’s centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme, which the commission is involved in organising alongside the Royal British Legion.

The CWGC wants to end the final salary scheme and move to defined contribution. Unions have proposed alternatives, including allowing staff to transfer to the new civil service Alpha scheme, but these have been rejected.

The current president of the commission, established by Royal Charter in 1917, is the Duke of Kent and the chairman is defence secretary Michael Fallon. Its “corporate vision” states employees “will be well trained, well equipped and well rewarded; and excited to come to work”.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The work commission staff do to maintain war graves and memorials is hugely important and highly prized by families, and it is obscene for the commission to be slashing their pensions.

“We have said all along that we are prepared to negotiate changes but we will not accept imposed cuts that will leave low-paid staff thousands of pounds worse off.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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