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

Friday, 4 March 2011

Consultation sham as Con Dems move to scrap Fair Deal on Pensions

Yesterday marked the commencement of a Government consultation on the scrapping of pension protection for workers who are subject to forced transfer from public to private sector employment. The consultation closes on 15 June 2011:  http://www.info4local.gov.uk/documents/consultations/1856577

The FT reports that ‘the current voluntary code requires that a new employer provides a broadly comparable pension for transferred staff. The CBI employers' organisation and others say this acts as a barrier to private providers bidding to run public services, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Opening public services up to competition is a key component of the government's plans to improve quality and value for money in public service delivery," the Treasury consultation document says. But with the higher cost of public service pensions causing problems for private suppliers, the time may have come to scrap the deal, the document says – although it retains the option of keeping it’

UNISON and other public service unions will continue to make a strong case for retention of the fair deal – which was a very hard fought concession from New Labour – but the Government’s direction of travel is clear for all to see:

“It is vital that we retain Fair Deal to protect some of the lowest paid workers in the land from facing poverty in retirement. The Government’s clear political agenda is to privatise more and more public services. They should not use this consultation to sweeten the deal for private companies, bidding to take over public services. Diluting Fair Deal would leave TUPE transferred staff at the pensions mercy of private contractors. The financial implications would also end any chance of a successful in-house bid”