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Public sector workers urged to accept government pension deal


Chief secretary to the Treasury has urged public sector workers to accept the pensions deal they are being offered by the government.

The minister insisted reform of the system was unavoidable and it would be a “colossal mistake” to spurn the offer which he warned would be the best “for years to come”.

His warning comes amid the threat of strike action from various public sector unions unhappy that their members are being forced to accept pension deals which will mean staff paying more and working longer.

However, the government argues that the public sector needs to follow the private sector and accept that the economic circumstances and an ageing population mean the pensions currently provided in the public sector are no longer affordable.

Mr Alexander urged rank-and-file union members to help “shape” the current reforms now or face “uncompromising” change later.

Under the proposals final salary pensions would be replaced by those based on career-average earnings, which would still be more generous than many private sector workers enjoy as the sector has largely moved to defined contribution pension schemes in which employees shoulder the risk of fluctuating savings investments.

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Readers' comments (25)

  • Sod off!! Are the government cutting their own pay, perks or pensions? No? Then do one!

    The pensions Nurses have are probably the one half decent thing about the pay, which is otherwise ridiculously low considering our level of skill, education and responsibility, and considering that we have had effective pay cuts, with no rises on the horizon, and we get no other perks.

    Teachers have threatened to strike, and we know they will win. We should be doing the same!!!!

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  • Published evidence suggesting NHS pensions are unaffordable and operates at a net deficit is misleading. The NHS Pension Scheme currently has a cash surplus and has done so over the last two valuation cycles (four years each); the contributions received having exceeded the benefits paid out.

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  • I've just been given a choice about whether to stay with the old scheme or go with a new one..... so, how does this fit in with two schemes running, I don't get it. I thought the new scheme is basically what they're saying here only working longer?

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  • Anonymous | 17-Jun-2011 1:51 pm excellent point, questions need to be asked what exactly they are doing with this surplus and if it is ringfenced for pensions or used for other purposes (such as feathering a few chief execs nests!)

    The way I see it, if they can afford 800 million or so for a foriegn vaccination programme and tens of billions more in foreign aid, they can afford not only to pay may wages and my FULL pension, but also to increase it, so where is the increase we deserve?

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  • I thought the pension review 3 years ago DID raise the age of retirement for new starters and look at an average figure

    So why review again. Is it because this so called Govt ( with the mandate from nobody - only in power on broken promises and damned lies) want to put us firmly in our place - the gutter.

    2 points to consider - Is the pension of MP's being reviewed? Nurses work 40 years for 1/2 salary pension. MP's a 5 year term for 1/2 their salary

    How do they expect nurses to physically manage at 66. Let Cameron restrain patients on an acute psychiatric ward at his present age and see how he copes.

    Like Mike said lets find all this overseas aid and allow our nurses to spend retirement in poverty ( if they live that lon)

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  • I work on a medical ward, stressed out due to workload unable to finish work on time. End up completing paperwork after shift finished only time given the peace to write. Recently had to take couple of weeks sick leave due to stress, on return informed it is due to poor time management on my part, no support offered. Now informed will have to work to 66 by government now in mid 50,s mentally and physically will be unable to do. Feel totally unsupported nobody to support us.

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  • Anonymous | 18-Jun-2011 6:08 am

    a scandal but not uncommon and as I am sure you are well aware that modern psychological thinking maintains that we generate our own stress, making it difficult to get any useful therapeutic support as well!

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  • Danny Alexander is making the "colossal mistake" here. Every time he opens his mouth, he hastens the demise of this miserable, ineffectual coalition of the damned.

    Is it me, or is he a dead ringer for Beaker from the Muppets? At least he'll have a job when his career in government is over.

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  • And I quote
    "The minister insisted reform of the system was unavoidable and it would be a “colossal mistake” to spurn the offer which he warned would be the best “for years to come”.

    How many times have we heard the deal on the table is the best for years to come and how many times has it actually been the case? I would suggest very few times if ever.
    I have worked bloody hard in my job doing unpaid hours every day and have made extra payments to my pension to make sure it will be enough to live on. I don't want it taken away at the whim of some politician. As the UNISON rep said on the BBC news the other morning. Do we really want 66 year old nurses working on geriatric wards, Do we really want 66 year old paramedics?
    As for the pension surplus mentioned my bet is that is being earmarked for bailing out other funds much like road tax already is

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