Congress condemns the UK government’s continued public sector pay restraint policy and its refusal to address public sector pension deficiencies.
The government’s public sector pay policies have resulted in the value of the average public sector worker’s pay falling over the last 10 years; workers are working harder and more flexibly, for less pay in real terms. Long-term pay restraint is having a detrimental impact on the living standards of workers and it is compounded by rising inflation.
Congress condemns the government for ripping up the pensions cost-sharing agreement for public sector schemes and for treating the cost of the McCloud/Sargeant remedy as a member cost, ensuring that the bill has to be met entirely by the scheme members.
Congress notes that evidence from the first round of scheme valuations in the public services does not support the claim that future pension costs in the public services are unaffordable, representing a risk to the public finances.
Congress welcomes the legal action being taken forward jointly by unions to challenge these scandalous government actions and calls on the General Council to coordinate union campaigning on public sector pensions.
Congress calls on the UK government and the devolved administrations’ governments to redress the detriment suffered by members conscripted to the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme (and other similar schemes) in 2015, whereby such members cannot access pension benefits accrued under the scheme before normal pension age (67/68) without actuarial reduction. Public sector pension schemes need to be improved to allow workers to access their pension at a reasonable age without punitive reductions.
The justification for higher pension age is longer life expectancy, but there are great variations in life and disability-free life expectancy.
Congress believes that in a post-pandemic world of work the need to reduce the pension age is more urgent than ever as a means to address the shameful levels of social and health inequality.
Congress calls on the General Council to embark upon a high-profile and coordinated campaign in 2021/22 to assist with the harmonisation of the campaigning activity of affiliates and highlight the need for a major programme of pay restoration that recognises the vital contribution made by all frontline workers across public and private sectors during the pandemic. This campaign should aim:
i. to improve the value of public sector pensions
ii. for the immediate honouring of the public sector pension cost-sharing arrangement measures
iii. for a reduction in the state pension age, and in the normal pension age for public sector schemes.
Mover: Public and Commercial Services Union
Seconder: Educational Institute of Scotland