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Pension changes reach parliament

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The government has unveiled its public sector pension’s bill in Parliament, claiming it would save £65bn savings over the next 50 years.

The first stage of the Public Services Pensions Bill was published yesterday.

The new pension deal will see workers earn a career average pension, after increased contributions with retirement age linked to the state pension age of 68.

Unions representing nurses and doctors reiterated their opposition to the changes, especially the extension in retirement age.

Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “We have always made it clear that the proposed changes to public sector pensions are of major concern to nurses and healthcare assistants.

“In particular, the number one worry has been the potential prospect of working in a physically demanding job until the age of 68. We remain committed to vigorously opposing this proposal.”

He added: “Asking nurses to continue working until they’re almost 70 is a deeply unpalatable prospect.”

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail criticised ministers for “steamrollering” the bill through, despite widespread opposition to the pension changes.  

She said: “Ministers have dressed up their statements to give the impression that their plans for public sector pensions have been universally agreed by the respective workforces. This is simply not true.

“Unite will continue to campaign against this legislation, as it will mean public sector workers paying more, working longer up to the age of 68, and receiving less when they eventually retire.”

Dr Mark Porter, chair of British Medical Association, said: “The NHS scheme underwent major reform only four years ago, and continues to deliver a positive cashflow to the Treasury. 

“We will be seeking to propose affordable ways in which the changes can be made fairer, both now and in the longer term.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I work in a busy ED dept and the thought of working over the age of sixty makes me feel il.
    Isnt the career average discriminative against us who have had maternity leave or worked part time at some point in our career to look after our family.
    I signed up thirty two years ago on a contract and know it suits the government they want to change it

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  • I have worked in the NHS and then outside it for 30 years with one further short stint in the NHS. I was forced into retirement in my mid-50s but know it is not possible for many to work in such a demanding career until the age of 68. It simply is not workable in some areas and can also have an impact on the quality of patient care.

    It is easy for the government to make a generalised rule for all workers but in some areas it is totally inappropriate.

    Even at my last interview in my mid-50s I was asked if I thought I could still do the job. They kindly gave me the benefit of the doubt and showed my round the ward and when we discussed the shifts I would have to work I withdrew my application as I knew from experience prior to this it would no longer be possible to work five different shifts including nights, and two of them split shifts, and with no regular pattern. It was also in a circular building with all patients' the rooms on the outside with nice views and the nurses' station and offices in the middle under artificial lighting all day long. Apart from the shifts and this seemingly unhealthy environment, the rest was very tempting but I did not wish to start a new job when the chief nurses was sceptical and only to have to leave a short time later.

    If jobs could be better adapted to the needs and capabilities of older nurses it would be another matter but expecting someone in their late fifties and sixties to run around and do the same work as far younger nurses is not always possible and is also a source of stress in the team and even bullying. I have seen this happen on more than one occasion.

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