NHS unions urge Lansley to listen to staff fears on pensions

Published on Friday, 14 October 2011 14:56
Posted by Scott Buckler

Trade unions representing more than 1m NHS workers have urged Health Minister, Andrew Lansley to listen to and acknowledge the concerns and fears of NHS staff, over damaging pension proposals. The proposals would force staff to pay more, and work longer for a reduced pension

 

At a meeting on the 12 October, called by the Secretary of State for Health, NHS trade unions explained to the Minister the concerns and fears that NHS staff had about proposed changes to the NHS Pension Scheme. They also said that the timetable for talks was unrealistic and undeliverable.

Despite the unions calls for changes to the pension proposals and timescales, Mr Lansley offered no assurances that anything would change.

Unions are warning that unless the Secretary of State takes action now, the NHS will see the biggest strike in its history.

NHS Staff Side trade unions meeting yesterday issued a joint statement saying:

The meeting with Andrew Lansley yesterday was disappointing. Despite us putting forward very strong arguments why the proposed changes to the NHS Pension Scheme are unnecessary and unfair and that the timescale for talks is unrealistic and undeliverable, the Minister offered us no assurances that anything would change.

In 2008 we negotiated a new scheme which ensured security in retirement for staff, as well as being affordable and sustainable for the future. This agreement is now being torn up. We have real concerns that NHS staff fears about the future of their pension scheme are not being heard and that staff trust and confidence in the scheme is being undermined by the proposed changes.

NHS staff feel angry, frustrated and let down by the proposals. Barely 3 years ago they signed up to a new pension scheme that was designed to ensure it was affordable and future proof.

Earlier this year, in a letter to Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Lansley described the pension proposals as inappropriate and unrealistic. We had hoped that the Ministers concerns would be reflected in our discussions on Wednesday, but sadly this did not happen.

We remain willing and committed to continue negotiations at sectoral level and want to make progress in the talks to head off strike action in the NHS, but the Minister must start listening and act quickly.

Source: Unison

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