14 January 2013
TO: ALL MEMBERSDear Brother/Sister
You will be aware that the review of Normal Pension Age for firefighters was due to report by the end of December 2012. Following a slight delay, this report from Dr. Tony Williams has now been published in readiness for a meeting of the Firefighters Pensions Committee on 17 January.
The final document is now available to read on the FBU website. The report includes on an executive summary, a series of chapters and a conclusion with recommendations.
The most significant things for FBU members to note from the Williams report are:
- The report does not provide evidence to support the government proposals for a Normal Pension Age of 60 for the firefighters’ scheme from 2015.
- The report argues that the only way such a change in NPA could be achieved is by significant changes in policy in relation to entry standards; improved monitoring of fitness levels and health; improved arrangements for fitness training and monitoring; and a range of other measures.
- A Normal Pension Age of 60 for the majority of the current workforce (including members of the NFPS) would mean that large numbers of members would be unable to achieve pension age.
It is important to remember in this regard that:
- The review was initiated and commissioned by the Westminster government.
- The Chair (Dr. Williams) was appointed solely by the CLG Fire Minister. Other organisations (including the FBU and the Fire Service employers) played no role in his appointment.
- Although the FBU (and the employers) have attended meetings with Dr. Williams and his team, the findings and conclusions of this review are his alone.
The significance of these factors is that despite this being a review entirely established by CLG it clearly does not provide support for current government policy in relation to firefighter pensions.
The FBU has submitted considerable amounts of evidence to the review based upon the research we have commissioned and undertaken. No other organisation in the Service, including the Fire Service employers, has carried out the level of research undertaken by the FBU on your behalf. Officials have also attended two meetings where representatives of the employers and the employees were invited to discuss the review and some early drafts with the review Chair, Dr. Williams. At these meetings the FBU were the sole representatives of the employees.
The NPA Review Document
The report is heavily focused upon fitness standards. This was a concern raised earlier by the FBU in various letters to the Chair and to the (CLG) Fire Minister as well as being highlighted at the most recent Firefighter Pension Committee.
While the review highlights areas that are problematic and have been challenged it does make several recommendations and observations around fitness standards and selection processes which are supportive of our arguments and which add weight to our consistent arguments about the ability of firefighters to be able to work beyond 55.
Most importantly the report does not provide support for current government policy: i.e. that the NPA of 60 is appropriate and can be justified on medical/health/fitness grounds.
Overall the report suggests there are various problems for current firefighters in relation to their ability to reach NPA 60 although it suggests a model for potentially achieving it for some in the future. It also outlines that there will be significant problems for women maintaining fitness to the NPA 60.
Several areas of the report highlight the difficulties facing current employees in relation to an of NPA 60:
- Most of those already in the FPS will not be fit enough to work to 60 (12.2.5 p.143);
- Many of those in the NFPS will not be fit enough either (11.5.6 p.139);
- Most women firefighters are not fit enough to work to 60 (11.5.5 p.138);
In addition to this the recommendation in the Executive Summary is very unhelpful to the government proposal for an NPA 60.
Fitness selection at recruitment – FRSs should consider informing –applicants that those whose fitness is close to 42 mL∙kg-1∙min-1 are unlikely to maintain fitness to NPA unless they are able to increase their level of physical activity and/or reduce their body mass index.
The impact of this is likely to affect large numbers of current firefighters who have been recruited under current standards. For example the National Firefighter Selection Tests are built around tasks which use VO2 42 as a benchmark. In other words Dr. Williams is clearly stating that the current recruitment and fitness standards cannot sustain a Normal Pension Age of 60. Firefighters who meet these standards on recruitment and afterwards, will be unlikely to be able to meet the same standards as they approach the age of 60. This clearly applies to the majority of current firefighters.
The report also suggests that these firefighters should be able to “leave after age 55 on a pension that is actuarially reduced from age 60 without any additional penalty” (12.8.4 p.145) although it is entirely unclear what this means. This is one of several areas where clarification is being sought.
In summary the unstated conclusions are:
- The NPA cannot be raised to 60 given the occupational nature of firefighting; the physical demands of operational firefighting; the fitness profile of existing firefighters.
- NPA of 60 can only be imposed if Fire Service employers are prepared to dismiss significant numbers of firefighters.
The report includes suggestions about how NPA of 60 could be achieved in the future. While the FBU may disagree with and challenge these suggestions, they include:
- Development of a new national fitness standard;
- Informing those recruited at 42 VO2max that they are unlikely to maintain fitness until NPA 60 without lifestyle changes;
- Regular fitness testing;
- At least 2.5 hours of training a week is incorporated into the daily routine of wholetime firefighters. It also suggests appropriate support and opportunities for fitness training should be provided for firefighters working the Retained Duty System but does not clarify what this entails.
The Union is considering these suggestions and recommendations and is taking legal advice around several areas.
The review also adds weight to the FBU argument that the current proposals on protection are inadequate. It recognises that people who have been recruited with different expectations may struggle to maintain fitness to NPA 60 and suggests in paragraph 11.5.4 page 138:
Some firefighters will have joined under the expectation that they will retire at age 55 or earlier but have now been told their normal pension age will be 60. This could be seen to be unfair, even though the Government has decided that an increase pension ages across the public sector is reasonable and fair. Not all firefighters will be able to maintain physical fitness. People do not age at a standard rate, some will find it harder than others to keep physically fit. A possible option to consider here is to give more protection to those who are members of the 1992 Firefighter Pension Scheme.
Overall View and Next Steps
It is clear on any reading that Dr. Williams has presented government with a report which does not provide support for their current policy. We have consistently argued that:
- There was no evidence which supports an NPA of 60;
- The cost ceiling and other key issues should not have been set until this issue had been resolved.
We have also:
- Continued to provide detailed professional evidence which supported our case.
- Committed significant resources to Dr. Williams’ review process.
Working until 60 – Implications
In an attempt to try and show how an NPA of 60 might be achieved the Williams report creates a whole further series of huge difficulties for Fire Service employers and for government policy.
It is clear that his recommendations on new standards and new systems:
- Could only be applied to future employees;
- Rely on a nationally consistent physical training/ assessment regime (which does not exist in the real world of the UK Fire Service);
- Rely upon a potentially unlawful discrimination of setting an unnecessarily high entrance standard;
- Would eliminate almost any chance of recruiting women into the Service and would thereby roll back decades of work around equality issues.
Most significantly his recommendations would rely on the ability of employers to dismiss a significant number of individuals on capability style dismissals. This is something which all parties to earlier discussions stated they would not support.
These are only some of the areas that mean that this report does not provide support for government policy:
- It has taken a considerable amount of effort from the union to reach this point and the next steps will be very important.
- This is a preliminary analysis of the report. Further work is underway
- The (CLG) Fire Minister is now considering options in relation to the report. We shall seek an early discussion with him on these.
- We shall provide further briefings for members and for MPs and other politicians.
This campaign is clearly reaching a crucial stage. We have fought long and hard against these unjust attacks on our pension rights. At every stage we have provided hard evidence which has undermined the government’s case against us. We also currently face further unjustified increases in pension contributions. It is essential that all members are kept aware of these developments and are fully involved in the next stage of our campaign to defend pension rights.
25th October 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
What is the purpose of this survey?
In May 2011 the FBU commissioned YouGov to run an online survey to gather evidence from FBU members about their attitude to the Government’s proposed changes to the firefighters’ pension schemes. The results of this survey provided the union with a great deal of evidence, which has been used to challenge the government over their proposals.
In April 2012 the government imposed an employee contribution increase (which represented 50% of their initial proposal) and agreed that they would review the effects of the first year contribution increases before making any decision on any further increases. Although any increase in employee contribution is unwelcomed and completely unjustified, it is notable that the Firefighters Pension Schemes were the only unfunded public service scheme which did not suffer the full increase. This was a direct result of the work done by the FBU and the evidence that the YouGov survey allowed us to build.
The challenge on pensions is far from over and we are facing a proposal to increase the employee contributions again in April 2013 and an imposed Firefighter Scheme in 2015. This new scheme would include an increase to normal pension age for many FBU members. Government is currently considering a public service pensions Bill which proposes several detrimental changes to the fire service pension schemes.
A small number of members have already had an opportunity to attend forums on pensions initiated by central government. These were designed to gauge the attitude of pension scheme members towards these proposals. You will also be aware that the FBU is currently submitting evidence to a Normal Pension Age review which is due to report its findings by the end of 2012.
The FBU remains totally committed to maintaining quality pension schemes for all our members and has been firm in its position that many of the suggestions in the Hutton Report and in the Government’s proposals are unacceptable, unsustainable and unfair.
We have commissioned a further survey which will allow you to express your views on what your pension scheme means to you and how you may react to the proposed changes. It is simple to access online and it will only take a few minutes of your time to complete.
How do I take part?
It takes a couple of minutes, the questions are straight forward and are designed around your particular pension scheme whether you are in the 1992 Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (FPS), the 2006 New Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (NFPS) or the Local Government Pension Scheme.
It is very important that you take part and that you give your considered responses to the survey.
Why use YouGov?
YouGov is a respected independent polling organisation and the information we obtain from this survey can be used to highlight our members’ attitudes without giving anyone the opportunity to say it is biased or distorted.
Please only fill in the survey once and do not use the same computer as any colleagues as the survey is designed to highlight repeat responses from one source. (I.e. try to avoid using any work computers)
The survey will be live from midday 29 October 2012 and close at midday 16 November 2012 and you will get several reminders to take part.
Why should I bother?
Your views are extremely important to us and if we are to conduct an effective campaign against these proposed changes we need to understand the strength of feeling of all members and use any information we gather to formulate a strategy.
There may be a particular proposal that you are strongly opposed to and this may even mean you have to consider your continued membership of your current scheme. If this is so we need to know.
The information that was gathered from last year’s survey was crucial to developing our evidence and our arguments. The FBU is the only organisation in the fire service that is submitting evidence of this detail and quality. We have a big challenge ahead of us but the reviews give us an opportunity to make sure that evidence such as that gathered using these surveys is taken into consideration.
Around 8000 FBU members took part in the survey last year – we need to ensure that as many members as possible fill in the survey and highlight their feelings.
What happens with the information?
Part of the work YouGov are undertaking is to gather the information and produce a report on FBU members’ attitudes towards the proposals for future pension changes. This report will be an extremely valuable tool that we can use to defend the future pension provisions of its members.
This is only one step in any campaign but it is a vital step and one that you need to take part in – please take part and make your views heard.
Please take a few minutes of your time to complete this survey – this is a chance to highlight your feelings towards the Government’s future plans for your pension scheme.
08 October 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
IMPERIAL HOTEL – BLACKPOOL
15th, 16th and 17th MAY 2013
1. REPRESENTATION: BIENNIAL CONFERENCE 2013
Each Brigade Committee as defined by Rule will be entitled to elect delegates according to the Brigade’s membership. Delegate entitlement shall be calculated at the rate of one delegate per 500 members or part thereof of each Brigade’s membership return for the month of June 2012, with a minimum of 2 delegates per Brigade, plus 2 delegates per Section. The names of the delegates are required to be submitted to Head Office NOT LATER THAN 2.00PM 11th JANUARY 2013
2. TIMETABLE FOR CONFERENCE MATERIAL
(a) Resolution Proposals for Inclusion in the Preliminary Agenda
Up to a maximum of three Resolution Proposals for Conference may be submitted by Brigade and Sectional Committees to reach Head Office NOT LATER THAN 2.00PM 11th JANUARY 2013. Each Resolution Proposal should be on a separate form and returned electronically by either the Secretary or Chair of the Brigade/Sectional Committee, together with the name of the Brigade submitting the Resolution Proposals; the Standing Orders of Conference state that Resolution Proposals should deal with one subject only.
Neither Resolution Proposals nor Proposed Amendments to Resolution proposals can be accepted direct from Branches or Brigade Sections, but it is the duty of Branches and Brigade Sections to hold meetings for the purpose of considering Conference business and the submitting of their views to their own Committees.
(b) ALTERATIONS TO THE STANDING ORDERS
Any proposed alterations to the Standing Orders of Conference must be submitted to Head Office NOT LATER THAN 2.00PM 11th JANUARY 2013
3. PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO RESOLUTION PROPOSALS AND PROPOSED ALTERATIONS TO THE RULES OF THE UNION MOVED BY THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
(a) Amendments to Resolution Proposals on the Preliminary Agenda
(b) Proposed Amendments to Executive Council’s Proposed Alterations to Rules, must submit such amendments to reach Head Office NOT LATER THAN 2.00PM 8th MARCH 2013
When submitting Proposed Amendments to the Executive Council’s Proposed Alterations to Rules, Committees must be specific with both their proposed amendments and, if required, with any consequential amendments to Rules. IT IS IMPORTANT that this should be adhered to, which will greatly assist the Standing Orders Committee in the preparation of Conference business.
4. PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO EXECUTIVE COUNCIL POLICY STATEMENTS
Committees proposing amendments to Executive Council Policy Statements, must submit such proposed amendments to reach Head Office NOT LATER THAN 2.00PM 12th APRIL 2013
5. FINAL AGENDA
The Final Agenda, together with all other relevant documents will then be issued before Conference by the Standing Orders Committee in accordance with Rule, by 29th APRIL 2013
6. VOTING AT CONFERENCE
Voting at Conference will be in accordance with the Conference Standing Orders. Voting figures will be based on FBU Membership records as at 31st December each year.
7. NOTE TO BRIGADE/SECTIONAL COMMITTEES
Brigade/Sectional Committees should arrange their meetings to consider all Conference business in accordance with the above timetable.
Delegates must understand that they are expected to arrange for their service leave entitlement in order to attend Conference. Unpaid leave can only be arranged with the previous approval of the Executive Council.
8 October 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
Members will be aware that despite Governments’ so called ‘final offer’ for a new Fire Service pension scheme and despite the proposals in the Public Service Pension Bill there is no agreed position on pensions proposals with the FBU.
Currently the CLG review of Normal Pension Age (NPA) is undertaking the work of collating evidence. This review is due to report its findings by the end of the year. Government officials at CLG are also considering the information they have gathered following its review of the impact of the first year contributions before deciding on any future employee contribution increases.
Review of NPA
The FBU is the employee representative on the NPA review team and attended the initial meeting on 21 September 2012. You will be aware of the amount of evidence we have already submitted supporting our concerns. This included evidence on redeployment opportunities, the unworkable proposal for an NPA of 60, fitness standards and expectations among other things. This information has been made available via circulars and can be accessed on the Pensions section of the FBU website.
It is important to note that to-date the FBU is the only organisation that has provided any evidence on these issues for consideration.
The chair of the NPA review is Dr Tony Williams. He was appointed by the previous English Fire Minister Bob Neill. Dr. Williams has a background in workplace fitness and related issues. We have already clearly expressed the view that, while fitness standards are a key factor for consideration, they cannot be the only matter considered under this review. Despite this concern we continue to engage with the review and to provide evidence. We have made clear to Dr Williams and to the CLG Fire Minister that we will not in any way endorse a report unless we are convinced of the conclusions and that all matters have been adequately considered.
At a review meeting on 21 September 2012 the FBU raised a number of concerns, especially around, the current focus of the review on firefighter fitness levels. We explained that the Terms of Reference clearly identify a range of factors which will need to be taken into account. These concerns were subsequently raised in a letter to Dr Williams and subsequently at the most recent Firefighters Pension Committee (3 October 2012).
In response, we have received confirmation that, although the review is initially looking at fitness standards for all roles, the other issues contained in the Terms of Reference will not be ignored. It is important that members recognise that whilst we engage in the review we will challenge any report which ignores the evidence already presented or fails to take account of the whole range of issues which need addressing (e.g. financial, operational, structural and actuarial matters).
The FBU is continuing to gather evidence to support our concerns that the NPA of 60 is unworkable and unrealistic. We are also planning to submit at least one document to the review further outlining our position. This document may be one of many depending on any recommendations that emerge. As has been the case thus far any FBU submissions will be made available to members.
Employee contribution rates
You will be aware that the Year 1 employee contribution increases were not as high as those which were initially proposed. These rates, however unwelcome, represented the lowest percentage increase in the unfunded public service pension schemes (including the police scheme).
The decision of Government not to impose the full increase was only achieved by the pressure placed on the decision makers by the evidence provided by the FBU. The single most important factor was probably the information provided by the independently run YouGov survey. This survey allowed us to present hard evidence and real financial arguments showing the potential problems which might arise from the proposed increases.
Year 2 contributions are now being considered and the consultation process will probably commence in November. We must prepare for this in exactly the same way as we did last time and pay as much attention to our detailed arguments as before. The Executive Council have agreed that a further YouGov survey should be undertaken. This is currently being arranged and members will again be asked to take part in this exercise. More details of this will be made available shortly.
Members have also raised concerns around the protection arrangements in the final offer document, once again I must stress that nothing in the final offer is agreed and the FBU does not think the current protection arrangements are suitable. We continue to discuss these matters in details with officials from CLG.
The pension campaign is far from over. The current Government proposals are unworkable, unrealistic, unsustainable, and therefore remain unacceptable.
We are continuing to gather information to evidence our concerns and are currently involved in the NPA review and the review of contribution rates. We shall also be raising our concerns in relation to the Government’s Pensions Bill when it is debated in the House of Commons on 22 October. A Pensions Bulletin will shortly be issued on this matter. The bulletin is also intended to be used as an aid to briefing MPs and other politicians.
Please make full use of the forthcoming briefing/bulletin. Members are also asked to take part in the forthcoming YouGov survey and to keep abreast of developments on pensions matters. The next few months will be crucial in this campaign.
5 October 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Brother Paul Witt, a member from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. Brother Witt died yesterday whilst driving on Fire Service business.
Paul leaves a wife, Alison, and two adult children.
I know you will join me in expressing condolences to Paul’s family, friends and colleagues.
3 October 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Brother Alan Soards, a member from Lowestoft South fire station in Suffolk. Brother Soards died yesterday whilst engaged in water rescue training. Initial information suggests that Brother Soards was taken suddenly ill during the training and died despite the efforts of colleagues and paramedics on the scene to revive him.
I know you will join me in expressing condolences to Alan’s family, friends and colleagues.
The tragic events will now be investigated and local officials have already begun to engage in that process. Further information will be provided when available.
2 October 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
You may be aware that as part of the ongoing discussions around proposed employee contributions for firefighter pensions the Government at Westminster committed to review of the risks of opt-outs (i.e. members choosing to leave the pension scheme) which might result from increased employee contributions.
This has included a series of forums where firefighters of all roles and duty systems were invited to discuss the 2015 proposals and the proposed employee contribution increase.
These forums took place during August and September in London, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire and Northern Ireland and were coordinated by Research Works on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG).
The full report of the forums is now available to read and download via the following link: http://www.fbu.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/DCLG-Firefighters-Pensions-Report-V5-2-FINAL.pdf
We had previously discussed the forums with CLG and had made suggestions on the process although it must be understood that this is a CLG exercise.
The report attempts to divide the responses into differing groupings including; 1992 scheme members; 2006 scheme members; RDS members; and union activists. It compares the differing responses from each group. The questions that were posed and the schedule for the forums are provided from page 79 of the document and an overview of the information that was given to the forum is attached from page 84.
The majority of the document is made up of a series of verbatim quotes from scheme members in response to the specific question posed. Research Works were very keen to point out that these responses are what the individual believed to be true and are therefore not always factually correct.
You will see from the report that a range of views were identified although there was clearly considerable concern at the proposed increases in contributions and particularly, at the proposed increase in Normal Pension Age (NPA).
The report highlights the potential for opt-outs to increase. It highlights the concerns of pension scheme members regarding the link between NPA and the occupational demands of firefighting.
We will now discuss this report with CLG and other Government officials along with the other evidence currently being collated.
2 October 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
It has been brought to the Union’s attention that some members have been approached by companies offering access to ‘Pension Liberation Schemes’.
These schemes that are also sometimes known as ‘pension unlocking’ or ‘pension loans’, describe a process whereby pension scheme members are offered a chance to release their pension funds before retirement in exchange for converting them partly or entirely into cash.
This may sound very attractive to people who want to access their fund especially in light of the current situation surrounding pension proposals as well as the hardships created by the state of the economy. However members need to be aware that when something sounds too good to be true it usually is.
Scheme members should be wary of these approaches which are offering immediate cash sums following a transfer. This release of benefits as an immediate cash sum usually has a considerable ‘management fee’ deducted and is likely to have various implications for the member concerned and for scheme administrators relating to charges imposed by HMRC in relation to ‘unauthorised payments’.
The Union will be raising this issue at the upcoming Firefighters’ Pension Committee and will be making further enquiries on this issue, including taking legal advice if necessary.
In the meantime it is extremely important that members ensure that they take appropriate financial advice before considering any options such as these and should make themselves fully aware of the potential pitfalls associated with these schemes.
These schemes appear to be new within the Fire Service and we shall research the issue further so as to ensure that members have the best possible advice available when making decisions on such matters. Further information will therefore follow when available.
1 August 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
The Executive Council met yesterday and heard a report on the latest discussions around the issue of pay. You will recall that on 7 June at a meeting of the National Joint Council (NJC) the Employers stated that they were ‘minded’ to make an offer on pay but wished to discuss further so-called ‘reform’ of Conditions of Service.
The Executive Council had expected that some proposal on pay would be made which could be considered by FBU members. However, in discussion with Employers’ representatives over the past few days a significant further complication has arisen.
The Employers have informed us that they will not make any offer or proposal on pay if the Union intends to consult our members in any way on such a proposal. In other words, any proposal on pay would have to be accepted by the Executive Council without the possibility of wider consultation or discussion.
The Executive Council discussed this position and immediately agreed that such a position is completely unacceptable and is an attempt to interfere in the internal structures and democracy of the Fire Brigades Union.
Regrettably, therefore we remain in the position that we have registered a claim for a pay rise and the Employers have refused to make an offer in response. The Executive Council agreed that we should therefore begin to take the necessary steps to implement our Conference policy on this matter. Head Office officials will therefore begin to draw up plans for developing our campaign on the issue of pay and will address how this impacts on the various other campaigns already planned or underway.
It appears that the Employers now intend to impose a third year of pay freeze, even though there is very clearly money available for pay. The Union will now begin our campaign and discussion with members with a view to moving towards national industrial action at the appropriate time. This is an unfortunate position, but it is one entirely created by the Fire Service Employers and their failure to negotiate in accordance with the normal processes of industrial relations.
This situation will be reported to Ministers and to Local Government associations in the various parts of the UK and the Executive Council will meet again shortly to discuss next steps.
TO: CONTROL MEMBERS HOME ADDRESSES [England & Wales]Dear Brother/Sister,
Following the conclusion of negotiations between GMB, Unison, Unite and the Local Government Association (LGA), the FBU were presented with the proposals for the new Local Government Pension Scheme for England and Wales. A summary of these proposals were contained in circular 2012HOC0348MW which was issued on 22 June and is available on the FBU website.
This circular outlined all the key points of the proposal and gave a comparison between the 2008 scheme and the 2014 proposed scheme.
It is important that the views of our LGPS members are sought so that the FBU can give an accurate view to the other trade unions involved.
The Executive Council met on 17 July 2012 and discussed the proposals in detail. The Executive Council recognised the outcome of the LGPS negotiations and the progress that has been made in certain areas. These included the improved position on contributions based on actual pay and the fact that the vast majority of LGPS members will not face an increase in their contribution rates.
However, the Executive Council was concerned about the proposed accrual rates and revaluation rates and agreed that the FBU should continue taking further professional advice on this issue. This advice will be communicated to members via the usual channels.
Overall and despite the improvements that have been negotiated, the Executive Council remains fundamentally opposed to the proposal to link an individual’s normal pension age to the state pension age and reiterated the view that a normal pension age of 68 is unrealistic and unworkable for the vast majority of firefighters (Control).
The Executive Council took a decision that members in fire controls in England and Wales would be consulted via a ballot to determine their views on these proposals.
This consultative ballot will commence on 1 August and finish on 22 August 2012, and will be supported by a series of meetings to discuss this issue in more detail.
This consultative ballot will consist of two simple questions.
- Do you feel the proposals for the 2014 LGPS are acceptable – Yes or No?
- Do you wish the FBU to continue trying to achieve access for firefighters control into a specific fire service pension scheme – Yes or No?
The Executive Council recommendation for Question 1 is that members should vote No. It is important that members also make their views known on question 2.
It is essential that members are given balanced information on these proposals and are in a position to understand the Executive Councils concerns. To achieve this a PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes will be provided to local officials and a series of meetings will be arranged very shortly where LGPS members can discuss these proposals in more detail.
Members should be aware that there is a considerable amount of information available on the LGPS 2014 website http://www.lgps.org.uk/. You should be aware that while much of this information is helpful it has been prepared with a positive view on the proposals and does not reflect some of the concerns identified by the FBU.
It is important that members attend FBU meetings where our concerns are explained before they make their decision on these two issues.
In the meantime the union will also seek the support of colleagues in other unions to establish with the employers a working group to examine the specific occupational needs of fire control staff and any other identified occupational groups with particular needs. The union has also already given support to the campaign ‘68 is too late’ (http://www.68istoolate.org.uk/) which aims to campaign against increases to state pension age. In addition to this the union continues to attempt to gain access for fire control staff into a fire service pension scheme.
Please make sure you attend any meetings that are held to discuss this issue.
Yours in Unity,