Tag Archives: Pensions

Closure of NHS Scotland pension group ‘a failure of politics’

16 Jan

Unite Scotland members in the NHS have hit out at both the Scottish and Westminster Governments after announcing the closure of a key pensions negotiations body.

The NHS Pensions Working Group of the NHS Scotland Terms & Conditions Committee (STAC) had been in discussions with the Scottish Government in an effort to offset the impact of the Coalition Government’s pension’s cuts across the NHS in Scotland.

However, Unite representatives closed the working group earlier this week after the Scottish Government informed workers they could do nothing to counter constraints placed on them by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.

Unite Regional Industrial Officer Gordon Casey said, “It would seem the Scottish Government were content to play politics with people’s pensions while the Westminster Government are determined to wreak havoc with them. 

As it stands NHS workers in Scotland will now suffer the same attacks on their pensions as colleagues in the rest of the UK – pay more, work longer and get less.

Unite refuses to accept Danny Alexander’s cuts agenda but we believed the Scottish Government had an opportunity to defend these pensions in the face of the Coalition’s austerity measures and we still do.

The NHS pension scheme currently generates £2 billion a year more in contributions than it pays out in benefits and Unite has refused to sign-up to the Westminster Coalition Government’s NHS pension reform agenda.

ENDS

 Notes to Editors: For further information please contact Unite Regional Industrial Officer Gordon Casey on 07798531021 or Peter Welsh in the Unite Scotland Communications Unit on 07810157931.

Enough is enough over Argos scrooge pension cuts

6 Dec

Logistics workers based at the Argos ‘Eurocentral’ warehouse in Motherwell will undertake twenty-four hours of strike action from 00:00 on Thursday 8th December in defence of their pension rights.

The dispute involves over thirty-five drivers and warehouse operatives currently employed by the sub-contractor Norbert Dentressangle.  The French logistics company is the third sub-contractor to undertake the lucrative Argos distribution operation over the last decade.  During this period workers have seen their pensions entitlement, which remains under the giant retailer’s control, gradually cut from the original final salary scheme, creating a shortfall of up to £22,000 for the longest serving employees.

However, the workforce alongside their trade union Unite Scotland are now saying ‘enough is enough’ to Argos and their opportunistic cost-cutting which will strip dignity in retirement away from many local employees.

Unite Regional Officer Tam Connarty said, “What we are seeing here is the tipping point of a decade long attack by Argos on the pensions of our hard-working members.

The price being paid by the workforce of constant sub-contracting is not just lower real-term wages or longer working hours; it’s also the prospect of a decent retirement becoming a total pipe-dream.  

We’re outing the scrooge mentality of Argos in the season of goodwill.  All workers deserve dignity in retirement and when hugely profitable private companies try to deprive them of that, doing nothing is not an option.  Enough is enough.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors: For further information please contact Unite Regional Officer Tam Connarty on 07810157911; Local Unite Rep Scott McDade on 07951897001; and Peter Welsh in the Unite Scotland Campaigns Unit on 07810157931.

November 30 Day of Action – Ayrshire pickets

30 Nov

We visit picket lines in Ayrshire to find out why our members are taking action to defend their pensions.

 

Your N30 – Take a moment to tell the world

23 Nov

Let’s make November 30th a day to remember.

 

If you’re taking action to defend your pension that day, we want to know.

Tell Unite all about it – then we can tell the world.

Send us a text from your workplace, picket line or town centre.  Let us know about the atmosphere, the turnout, even the weather.  Tell us what is going on. Or if you’re not on strike, send a message of support.

Your messages will be broadcast live on Unite’s website.  It will be a vivid record of a fantastic day for working people the length and breadth of the country.

It is easy to tell the world. Just TEXT it into 86888 (don’t worry; it’s free!).   Or send your pictures to N30@uniteyou.org.

You can find your nearest event below.

You can also follow @UniteScotland and @N30Scotland on twitter, and use the #N30 hashtag to share your experiences.

What you’re saying:

 

The Governments’ Pension Plans to make people pay more to receive a smaller pension are a slap in the face to a hard working public sector workforce that do not get benefits the private sector do in bonuses and share offers and wage increases. It is a typical Tory knee jerk reaction to try and solve problems by taking from the many who earn the least and not from those who evade taxes through loopholes.
The government is risking putting many people into further financial difficulty by making them pay more for their pensions now and to worsen it later by paying them less for their pensions when they retire.

Also in making people work longer before they can retire they are not opening jobs to the next generation who would be coming into the workforce on a starting salary which will cost the government more and keep unemployment figures higher.

I am standing up for my fellow workers and will be taking annual leave to stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow union members in the march to the Scottish Parliament to fight this injustice.

– Tom Fegan, Edinburgh

 

“I don’t believe the financial crisis to be a political issue. It is simply that the people who were meant to look after the money got greedy and the rest of us are being expected to pay for it. If I hadn’t managed my money would the bankers have bailed me out? – No. I will defend my less than ‘gold plated’ pension which amounts to less than £5,000 per annum all the way.”

 – Jacky, Unite Workplace Rep from Kirriemuir 

 I wish you every success for your struggle. Now It’s time for all of us to fight to protect social rights and democracy. Solidarity from Greece. Our minds and hearts are always with you.

– Evangelos Lagos, Greece

 

@N30Scotland on twitter

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#N30 Hashtag on twitter

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Unite votes YES to public sector strike action on November 30th

17 Nov

Delegates to the STUC Women's Congress support the day of action

Unite members in Scotland have strongly endorsed the public sector strike action scheduled for 30 November in ballot results announced today. 74% of local authority workers and 80.5% of those in the NHS voted in favour of taking industrial action. Unite members will join millions of fellow public sector workers on a day of action that will challenge the Coalition Government’s assault on public sector pensions, and on living conditions for working people.

The vote for strike action heaps further pressure on the government to rethink its plans to force public sector workers to pay more and work longer, but for a poorer pension in retirement.

Economic indicators show that the cuts aren’t working: the UK economy is stagnating, with 2.6 million unemployed, including one million young people stuck on the dole queue. Chancellor George Osborne is left scrambling for explanations as it becomes clear he will miss his target for deficit reduction. Desperate attempts to massage unemployment figures by forcing unemployed people to provide free labour to supermarkets will only further undermine the job market for those seeking work.

Commenting on the result of the ballot, Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said:

“Public sector workers in Scotland are telling the government that `enough is enough’. They are enduring wages cuts, rising living costs and horrific job losses, as the UK government forces the less well off in this country to pay for the sins of the elite. They are not prepared to stomach this attack on their pensions, too.

“A deal has been struck with the Scottish Government to exempt the increase in contributions of local government employees. While Unite views this as progress in contrast with the imposition by the UK Government there is still the outstanding issue of all public sector workers having to work longer to receive a smaller pension. For public sector workers outside of local government they are still faced with the prospect of paying more into a pension.”

For all public sector workers the change in the way the pensions are calculated from RPI to CPI will see 15 per cent automatically wiped off the value of pensions.  Unite is one of a group of unions currently challenging this move in the High Court.

For information on the 30 November day of action, see the Pensions Justice Scotland website.