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Pensions: Hutton Report

16 March 2011

TSSA members working for various public transport undertakings in Northern Ireland who are members of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) are obviously concerned about the affect of the Lord Hutton's Review of public sector pensions published last week.

TSSA General Secretary, Gerry Doherty said 'Public sector workers and others are already suffering a wage squeeze, job losses and high inflation. They are now desperately worried that they will no longer be able to afford their pension contributions, and will have to drop out'.

Even without any changes recommended in Lord Hutton's report, public sector pensions have been reduced in value by 25% by a mix of negotiated change and the government's arbitrary switch to the lower CPI measure of inflation. On top of this the government has announced a £2.8 billion increase in contributions and other possible changes that could also increase contributions. Even without further changes public sector workers will pay much more for significantly less.

Lord Hutton's report that runs to over two hundred pages is a substantial piece of work that needs to be considered in detail. Any changes to members pensions arising from this report must be properly negotiated by unions and employers.

The impact of issues like moves to a career average scheme will have very different impacts on different schemes and groups of members and need to be thought through properly. Furthermore, if changes force members to leave schemes this could make the short term cost of pensions for the government greater and store up real problems for the future. Imposing changes without agreement could lead to real industrial tensions and getting the decisions wrong could leave future pensioners in poverty.

TSSA will continue to work with our colleagues in the other unions and the ICTU to ensure that our members get the best deal possible.

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