Professionals warn: don't mess with our pensions

Professionals warn: don't mess with our pensions

Public sector professionals warned the government against cutting the pension expectations of staff in service.

Prospect – the union representing 105,000 scientists, engineers and managers – said it was not opposed in principle to discussions on the normal public sector pension age in the light of European legislation on age discrimination.

After today’s announcement by the Work and Pensions Secretary, Paul Noon, Prospect general secretary said: “But we shall fundamentally oppose any change that worsens overall conditions for members who currently expect to retire at 60.

“We shall challenge any moves to impose slower accrual rates or that force people to retire on poorer pensions than their current entitlement. Whatever their age, these people entered service with an expectation that they would retire at 60 with an unreduced pension.

“Equally we are not prepared to write off generations of people yet to come by allowing the creation of a two-tier workforce for pensions: different yes, inferior no. Nor can we accept second-class status for new public servants who will still be expected to do a first class job.

“Any proposals for change must be subject to full consultation and negotiation with unions so that staff views can be taken into account.”

Noon said that today’s proposals would not end the funding crisis affecting final salary pensions schemes. “Further urgent action is needed by ministers to end the threat of pensioner poverty for millions who have thought they had made adequate provision for their retirement.”

However the union welcomed proposals announced by Andrew Smith for the creation of a pension protection fund, for compulsory insurance for occupational schemes, for new regulations requiring employers to consult before making changes to schemes, and for extending TUPE protection to pensions in private sector transfers.