GMB has issued full text of “Heads of Agreement” signed to meet Treasury deadline last Monday
The GMB has moved to issue a public reassurance to members over its decision to return to the government’s timetable for talks over changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme.
After a day of confusion over conflicting government statements about funding of the LGPS after 2014, GMB and UNISON both agreed to sign up proposals for detailed talks between unions Coalition ministers and the Local Government Association, which represents council employers in England and Wales.
For the first time, officials have publicly released the full text of the seven-page Heads of Agreement originally signed by all three unions on Monday. The document is marked “confidential”.
It says: “There was mutual recognition that the real driver should be the requirement to have regulations in place by April 2013. The government’s desire for progress on a scheme outline by the end of 2011 was recognised as a valid aspiration within that overall timetable.”
The document also specifies that “scheme cost efficiencies be realised through more effective procurement and provision of both administration and investment services”.
That will be taken as an agreement that future operation of the scheme may be tied to cuts and possible further privatisation.
In all, seven separate paragraphs cover the controversial issue of employer contributions to the scheme. They were behind the dispute on Monday and Tuesday which meant UNISON and the GMB temporarily suspended their agreement.
Unite has said it will not take part in further negotiations until it has consulted its members in local government.
The document also lays out a number of “short term pension reform objectives” for the LGPS which it says must be achieved by the end of March next year, to allow for an actuarial assessment of the value of the scheme.
The last valuation of the LGPS put its assets at £140bn, making it one of the largest institutional investors in the UK.
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services said:”GMB members will be reassured that government has recognised the LGPS needs to be treated separately from the other public sector schemes.
“This deal means there will be a full re-negotiation of the LGPS with changes to be introduced from 2014/15. This removes the threat of huge contribution rises which would have led to mass opt outs and jeopardised the LGPS funds.
“So it is good news that common sense has prevailed, it’s just a shame that it has taken 10 months and a strike to get there.”
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