Prospect members say government’s misguided policies are causing real damage to public services
Prospect members have voted to accept the deal negotiated between unions and the government on the shape of their pension scheme from 2015.
But the union has warned the government it will oppose further changes to the controversial scheme, and will continue to campaign on pay.
Deputy general secretary Dai Hudd said: “If the government thinks this result means civil servants are ready to back down, they are wrong. Members will continue to resist the callous attacks on their living standards and campaign for a salary that reflects their specialist skills and compensates for the unfair increases in pension costs imposed on them. The focus of our campaign will now turn to pay, where the government’s misguided policies are causing real damage to public services.”
In a turnout of 50% of the just under 29,000 members affected by the proposals, the vote was 79% in favour of the changes the union had recommended as the best that could be achieved by negotiations, with 21% rejecting the recommendation.
Another 5,000 Prospect members are affected by negotiations on the local government pension scheme, on which talks continue with employers.
Dai Hudd said: “Members have had their say after noting that the proposed terms were the best achievable by negotiation. They understood that the government’s offer was conditional on acceptance, and that if the terms were rejected there was a danger of government imposing something much worse.
“However, members also recognised that Prospect had achieved significant improvements from the government’s opening position. Indeed, for many members the pension they accrue under the new arrangements could be higher than if they stayed in their current scheme. The final position also protects all those within ten years of retiring, who remain in their existing schemes.”
Hudd stressed the “Yes” vote was not an endorsement of the government’s pensions policy, saying: “The ballot result relates only to the terms of the new scheme operating from 2015, which is closely modelled on the Nuvos scheme already in existence.
“Members do not endorse having to pay higher pension contributions from this year, or the further rises in 2013 and 2014. These increases are an unjustified tax. If you add in the two-year pay freeze and 1% pay cap, members stand to lose around 17% from real-terms pay cuts during 2010-14.”
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