UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Scottish PFI and the LGPS‏

Hot on the heels of the Local Government Association in England and Wales, the Scottish Executive has announced its intention to explore the use of UNISON member's money to be invested in potential privatisation deals. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/ministers-hope-to-tap-council-pensions-1.990222.

Scottish Ministers are hoping to tap into the £20 billion held in council pension funds - to pay for public building projects such as schools, roads and hospitals.

If the Scottish Executive is going to issue bonds to raise money to invest in schools, hospitals, bridges, then UNISON members must demand that privatisation is not the end result.

Let's be clear, there are no trustees making these decisions, the Scottish LGPS like its counterparts in England and Wales is dominated by councillors, there is no mechanism to make sure that these types of investment are in the best interests of scheme members, and if there is a conflict of interest, which there clearly will be in this decision, the conflict is resolved in scheme member's favour.

Investing in public sector projects is a good thing and if the scheme members decide it's in their interests to do so then they will. But they will have to make sure the end result is not to their detriment as the private sector companies engaged to run the services cut back on jobs, pay and pensions to make the required profits.

If governments want our money for public sector projects then we want the legal right to representation, we must demand that our money is invested in our interests, not theirs.