The UK government’s has introduced a new law designed to help people save more for their retirement. It requires employers to enrol workers into a workplace pension scheme if they:
· are not already in one;
· earn over £8,105 a year (£676 a month/£155.87 a week);
· are aged 22 or over; and
· are under State Pension age.
Employers are enrolling their workers automatically into a scheme to make it easier for people to start saving - NHSGGC will starte auto enrolling around 7500 staff very soon.
Staff who do not want to be 'enrolled' in the NHS pension scheme MUST opt out by 5th April to ensure that no deductions will be made from your pay and you will be removed from the pension scheme.
If your form is received at payroll between 6th April 2013 and 30th April 2013 any payments you have already made will be refunded, and you will not have become an active member of the scheme on this occasion.
If you want to stop making payments after 30th April 2013 you can do so. The payments you have made already may be refunded by SPPA. Please contact them for further details.
Branch Secretary Cathy Miller said, "UNISON supports the commitment to assist workers provide a pension for themselves. However NHS Glasgow Clyde and CVS Branhc is concerned that this action comes at a time when year on year pay freezes and increased cost of living means that many low paid and often part time workers will not see 'auto enrolment' as a positive initiative."
If you need advice about auto enrolment please contact your local UNISON steward for info.
UNISON Scotland members are rightly angry about the tax on their pension imposed from April 2012.This is an unacceptable additional burden that no health worker can afford to lose from their wages.
Month on month, household costs are increasing and for the majority of staff there has now been a pay freeze for three years. Family budgets are stretched to breaking point all because of the UK Con-Dem government and their public sector cuts.
We are all clear public sector workers didn’t create this crisis, Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary said “...when they need to find more money, where do they look first? To our members. Need to pay for bankers’ bailouts? Cut our public services. Want to cut taxes? Come after our pensions. Economy stagnating? Freeze our pay. “Our union is the foundation on which we will build resistance.”
In Scotland, the Scottish Government has approved this additional tax on your salary, while at the same time blaming the UK government for having to do so. This is unacceptable we need the Scottish Government to stand up for Scotland’s NHS employees, their employees.
What can you do?
Tom Waterson, Chairperson of UNISON’s Scottish Health Committee said, “If you have paid extra for Pensions for your Pension in the April pay packet, don’t be SAD, get MAD!
"You need to help UNISON prevent similar increases in April 2013 and April 2014 and to help UNISON Scotland get the best possible Pension Agreement in Scotland!"
UNISON members in Lothian, Glasgow & Clyde, Ayrshire & Arran and Lanarkshire took strike action in March to help force the Scottish Government to the negotiating table. Fresh negotiations through the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee are due to commence on 15 May 2012.
UNISON needs to keep up the pressure on the Cabinet Secretary For Health & Wellbeing, Nicola
Sturgeon and the Scottish Government Health Department to deliver a new Scottish agreement on Pensions.
To do this we need YOU to take five minutes of your time and send an email to Nicola Sturgeon asking her to act on this unfair tax on your wages.
You can do this by visiting
If you do not have email access you can also complete postcards produced by UNISON to send to Nicola Sturgeon, these are available from your UNISON branch.
Don’t leave it to someone else, remember its your pension!
There's been a lot of activity on pensions since the industrial action on 30 November forced UK ministers back to the negotiating table in earnest.
From December into March, negotiations have been taking place on the NHS Pension Scheme and the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), affecting most of our members.
In the NHS, we now have final proposals from the government for pensions in England and Wales, and a ballot of menbers will begin on 11 April, closing on 27 April.
Health workers including nurses, therapists, paramedics, cooks, cleaners and porters will be asked if they want accept or reject the proposals, which are the best that can be achieved through negotiations.
Changes to the pension scheme include:
· the pension proposals maintain a defined benefit scheme with a move towards career average in 2015;
· health workers earning less than Â£26,558 a year will not see an increase in their pension payments this year;
· all benefits built up in existing schemes will be protected and will maintain the final salary link at retirement;
· scheme members within 10 years of retirement will receive protection.
In Scotland, the union has balloted for, and started, separate industrial action.
Pensions are a devolved matter in Scotland and ministers have agreed to talks, starting on 28 March, over medium and long-term changes to the NHS Pension Scheme.
But they have made it clear that they are not prepared to negotiate over the first year contribution increases, and regulations to implement them has been tabled in the Scottish Parliament.
In December, ministers agreed a timetable and framework for talks on a future local government pension scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland drawn up by the unions and local government employers.
In Scotland, where pensions are a devolved matter and there is a separate Scottish LGPS, there have been no proposals to alter the scheme or increase contributions.
UNISON NHS Glasgow and Clyde members in finance have already taken part in further industrial action and thousands of members joined in our ‘Tell the Minister’ campaign by completing a postcard or emailing Nicola Sturgeon direct.
Detailed talks on the Scottish NHS scheme continue at a Scottish level. NHS members in Scotland will be balloted when these ‘Scottish’ negotiations have concluded.
In the meantime UNISON members in the NHS in Scotland will feel the pain of the year one increase in their wage packets from 1 April.
UNISON urges members to step up and send a message to Cabinet Secretary as the campaign to ‘Save our Pensions in Scotland’ launched a poster; post card campaign and adverts in daily media outlets.
The campaign is further supported by finance staff in Lothian, Lanarkshire and NHS Glasgow and Clyde who will be on strike on the 27 March after the Scottish Government agreed to meet unions, but refused to accept that the first years increase (as much as +2.4%) should be delayed.
Speaking about the campaign Branch Secretary Cathy Miller said, “The Scottish Government were quick to condemn the UK Government on this issue, but have been slow to meet with unions to find a Scottish solution. Whilst other unions huff and puff, UNISON is once again showing leadership and determination on this issue on behalf of our members.
"Our members in finance deserve a big round of applause and I urge every NHS worker to sign a postcard or even email the Cabinet Secretary direct (remember to use a home email) and demand a ‘Scottish solution’."
Marie Garitty Branch Chair said, “Everyone knows that NHS Boards are saving millions more than they have been asked for, UNISON members know that this money is being saved, off the backs of the workers and despite the rhetoric the cuts are hurting. To ask NHS workers to pay more with no return at this time is unbelievable, no wonder our members remain angry.”
You can add your support to the campaign by emailing the Cabinet Secretary here.
UNISON NHS Glasgow Clyde and CVS Branch officials took some time to support comrades in Ayrshire in Arran who have kicked off a further round of industrial action over plans to increase pension payments for NHS workers in Scotland.
The Ayrshire and Arran strike which started on 13 March is planned to increase pressure on the government for a Scottish solution to all aspects of pensions changes. This includes the year 1 increases to employee contributions of up to 2.4% - which are effectively a pensions tax on health workers.
NHS Glasgow and Clyde will be formally notified in the next few days of action planned for this Board area and details will follow soon.
Cathy Miller said, "The Scottish Government were quick to condemn the UK Government on this issue, but have been slow to meet with unions to find a Scottish solution. Whilst other unions huff and puff, UNISON is once again showing leadership and determination on this issue on behalf of our members."
Branch Secretary Cathy Miller is calling UNISON members to back a petition launched by the BMA which calls on the UK Government to maintain a fair and sustainable NHS pension scheme.
Cathy said, “UNISON, RCN and other NHS unions are urging members to support the BMA petition. If it secures 100,000 signatures the government are obliged to hold a debate in the UK Parliament. If we can force a debate it will help the UK discussions and you can be assured that UNISON will be pressing MP’s to stand up and be counted.”
Members, non members, friends, relatives and colleagues can all sign the petition and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Cathy added, “Sign today and help send a clear message to the CONDEMS.”
UNISON Branch Secretary has welcomed news that UNISON Scotland is to seek an urgent meeting with the Scottish Government with a view to securing a improvements around the UK Governments pension proposals.
She said, “The Scottish Government made their opposition to the UK Governments proposals clear, despite this they have continued to publish draft regulations which seek to implement the 3.2% increase in April of this year. Now is the time for Scottish Ministers to go beyond rhetoric and meet with UNISON to secure a sensible deal for our NHS members in Scotland.”
UNISON has retained the right to take industrial action if necessary and will consult members in a ballot once a final – detailed offer in available.
Branch Secretary Cathy Miller will be writing to all NHS members to thank them for their determination and commitment on 30th November.
Cathy said, “The turnout on Wednesday was fantastic. UNISON members from across our branch took the significant step of taking strike, thousands of them had never taken strike before and many of them worked on picket lines or marched with pride at the Glasgow demo.”
Figures obtained from NHSGGC indicate that staffing across the board was 40% lower than on a normal public holiday with thousands of clinic appointment and elective surgery cancelled for the day.
Cathy has called for the union to recognise that whilst the strike was a great success, many essential services ran only because UNISON members went to work, as other union members who were not on strike and non members took the easy option of ‘being off roster.’
Cathy said, “Right across the board area, UNISON members, when asked turned in for work and made sure that life and limb services such as renal dialysis, patient catering, labs and theatre porters continued to be delivered. Everyone one of us who was on a picket line, or on the march owe them a favour for making sure that the headlines on Wednesday were about our positive action.”
UNISON NHS Glasgow Clyde and CVS are calling all members to support the STUC planned march and rally on the 30th November. Branch Secretary Cathy Miller has added her weight to the event saying that, "This is a great way for members to get their message across and show their anger against the plans to make them work longer, pay more and get less."
Branch members should rally around the branch banner on the day - we'll have plenty of goodies for marchers to make noise and be seen with.
NHS workers across NHSGGC and the Golden Jubilee Hospital are joining UNISON to make sure that they have their say over pensions.
UNISON has been out and about across NHS sites speaking to staff and telling them about CONDEM plans to make them work longer, pay more and get less.
Branch Secretary Cathy Miller said, “I’ve been impressed by the attitude of members who are angry about this, I’ve also been shocked by the numbers on non members who are queuing up to be a part of UNISON. It is clear that the Government have got this wrong and they need to listen to NHS workers.”
In the last 2 weeks the union has recruited almost 300 new members with new applications in the post or being hand delivered every day.
Non member who join UNISON before noon on 31st Oct will be sent a ballot paper for return by 3 Nov.
UNISON NHS Glasgow and Clyde Branch Secretary Cathy Miller today met with UNISON members at Gartnavel General Hospital to speak about the unions ballot for industrial action.
Cathy said, "UNISON members are angry that the UK Government want to make them pay more, work longer and get paid less. Our members are clear, they would rather the government gave them a fair deal over pensions. It is not acceptable that hard working NHS staff are being asked to bail out the banks - they didn't cause this problem and will fight for a fair deal."
UNISON is asking its members to vote YES in the ballot for industrial action to protect public sector pensions.
Current proposals mean that most people will pay more and work longer to get a pension that will be worth less.
UNISON has tried to negotiate in good faith for secure and affordable pensions - but ministers won't listen.
We are balloting for strike action initially to start on 30 November. We are also working with other trade unions and community groups to organise local and national protests in support of public sector pensions.
We need a big YES vote and a high turnout to send a clear and united message to ministers that "enough is enough", that will help persuade them to withdraw their current unfair and unjustified attacks on pensions.
The ballot opens on 11 October and closes on 3 November.
You will be receiving your ballot paper from 11 October onwards - be sure to fill it in and return it as soon as you get it.
Please spread the word so that your colleagues in UNISON vote YES in the ballot.
Please vote YES to protect your pension.
Queries about the pensions dispute - firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re not prepared to pay more, work longer and get less – that’s the key message from UNISON members in NHSGGC after a month of road shows informing staff about the governments plans for public sector pensions across all major sites.
Branch Pensions Champion, Frances McCafferty says, "It was a lot of hard work getting around as many sites as possible and we spoke to about 1000 staff on this issue. It is clear that the vast majority of them are not willing to work longer, pay more and get less when it comes to their pensions.”
The unions are currently in discussion with the UK Gvt on a scheme by scheme basis and a final proposal is expected in October. UNISON members will be consulted in a ballot with Gen’ Sec’ Dave Prentis refusing to rule out strike action.
The month of August is extremely busy for branch pension champion Frances McCafferty, Pension Contacts, local stewards and staff from the Regional Office as the 'UNISON Team' take their pension roadshow across a huge geographical area, visiting 30 sites.
High up the agenda is the need to address the wrongly held view that NHS pension scheme members won't be affected by the government plans public sector pensions because, they made a decision in the “choice” exercise last year.
This is clearly not the case, far from it. Health will still face the proposed 50% increase in contributions, increased retirement ages and potential changes from a final salary scheme to a career average scheme. The message is very clear “PAY MORE, WORK LONGER AND GET LESS”
The pension road shows have been very successful, the turnout has been great, if people haven’t been able to attend then we’ve went to them on the wards, in the office, in the theatres and in the kitchens, with each member who attends the pension road show promising to take the information back to their colleagues and spread the word.
Our members are angry and frustrated that the UK Government want attack their pensions and their future. Whilst the union hopes for the best and prepares for the worst. The message is clear from NHS Glasgow & Clyde - KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OUR PENSIONS!
In March, hundreds of thousands of people stood up for public services at the TUC march in London. Now we must mobilise to defend our pensions.The government's strategy on pensions is now clear: it wants us to:
• pay more; work longer and get less when we retire.
Public service pension schemes have around 7.3 million pensioners and 5.4 million active members. Including dependants, 20 million people could be with us in the fight to defend public sector pensions.
It's time for everyone to get involved – just remember no one can do everything, but every one of us can do something!
Every UNISON branch that has members saving in a public sector pension scheme needs at least one pension champion and a pension contact in every workplace.
Three things for you to do:
• sign up to be a UNISON pension contact or UNISON Pension Champion at unison.org.uk/pensions/pop_involved.asp
• ask a fellow UNISON member to do the same
• ask a non-member to join UNISON today.