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,
22nd June 2012
TO: ALL CONTROL MEMBERS [Home Addresses]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.
These proposals, including the benefit and contribution structure for the LGPS, will need to be discussed with members involved before the union can give its position to a Trade Union side meeting.
The proposals contained in this document replace the previous government proposals and outline a new scheme, LGPS 2014. This is due to start on 1st April 2014 and apply to all service that is accrued from that point.
Unlike the position proposed in other public sector schemes, including the firefighters’ schemes, there will not be any changes to benefits or contribution rates before that date.The key points of the proposal are highlighted below:
a) The LGPS 2014 will be a defined benefit career average scheme with a 1/49th accrual.
b) Previous service earnings will be revalued by CPI.
c) All accrued pension (pension built up before and up to 1st April 2014) will retain the link to final salary and current normal pension age.
d) Most members will pay the same contributions in the new scheme as they do now. This is covered in more detail later in this document.
e) The normal pension age will reflect the state pension age and an individual member will have an individual normal pension age in the LGPS 2014 that matches their individual state pension age.
f) Any future outsourced members who are outsourced from direct local government employment will be able to stay in the LGPS.
g) Members who cannot afford to participate in the main scheme can opt for a 50/50 option. This would mean paying half their contribution rate and building up half as much pension as in the main LGPS 2014 while still being covered by full death in service, ill health cover and survivor benefits.
h) All other benefits stay the same as now.
In LGPS 2014, contributions will be set on the basis of actual pensionable pay which, for the first time, will include non-contractual overtime.
This is different to earlier proposals and means that part timers will not have to work out their full or whole time equivalent earnings, both contributions and benefits will be based on actual pay.
The proposed changes to the contribution bands are shown in the table below.
|Actual Annual Pay||Gross Contribution (2014 scheme )||Contribution After Tax Relief (2014 scheme)|
|Less than £13,501||5.5%||4.40%|
|£13,501 – £21,000||5.8%||4.64%|
|£21,001 – £34,000||6.5%||5.20%|
|£34,001 – £43,000||6.8%||5.44%|
|£43,001 – £60,000||8.5%||5.10%|
|£60,001 – £85,000||9.9%||5.94%|
|£85,001 – £100,000||10.5%||6.30%|
|£100,001 – £150,000||11.4%||6.84%|
|More than £150,000||12.5%||6.88%|
|Current LGPS||Gross Contribution|
|Up to £13,500||5.5%|
|£13,501 – £15,800||5.8%|
|£15,801 – £20,400||5.9%|
|£20,401 – £34,000||6.5%|
|£34,001 – £45,500||6.8%|
|£45,501 – £85,300||7.2%|
Scheme Benefits in brief
There are a number of changes to the proposed benefit structure in the LGPS 2014.
The accrual rate is 1/49th compared to the 1/60th in the current LGPS. This has been achieved by reducing the revaluation rate for previous earnings to flat rate CPI.
The pension age for service in the LGPS 2014 (excluding any past service before 2014) will be linked to the state pension at that time.
This will mean that older members may still have an NPA of 65 while for younger members it could be 66, 67 or 68.
In the event that state pension age increases further, the LGPS 2014 pension age will also increase for all service after 1st April 2012.
A more detailed report on the proposal can be found on the LGPS 2014 website at http://www.lgps.org.uk/
The table below outlines a comparison of the current 2008 scheme and the proposed 2014 scheme.
|Element||LGPS 2008||LGPS 2014|
|Structure||Defined benefit||Defined benefit|
|Basis of Pension||Final Salary||Career average revalued by inflation|
|Revaluation Rate||Not applicable, pension linked to salary on retirement||CPI|
|Contribution Flexibility||No||Yes, members can pay 50% contributions for 50% of the pension benefit|
|Pension Age||65||Equal to the member’s individual state pension age (minimum 65)|
|Lump Sum Trade Off||£1 of pension for £12 lump sum||£1 of pension for £12 lump sum|
|Death in Service||3 x pay||3 x pay|
|Survivor Benefits||1/160th accrual based on Tier 1 ill health pension enhancement||1/160th accrual based on Tier 1 ill health pension enhancement|
|Ill Health Provision||Tier 1 – immediate payment with service enhanced to 65
Tier 2 – immediate payment of pension with 25% service enhancement to 65
Tier 3 – temporary payment of pension for up to 3 years
|Tier 1 – immediate payment with service enhanced to pension age
Tier 2 – immediate payment of pension with 25% service enhancement to pension age
Tier 3 – temporary payment of pension for up to 3 years
|Indexation of Pension in Payment||CPI||CPI|
|Vesting Period*||3 months||2 years|
*Vesting period – is the timeframe in which members can get a refund on their contributions if they leave instead of having a very small pension tied up in the scheme until their retirement.
Protection arrangementsThere are several different elements of protections that will apply; some affect all members while others are targeted at specific groups.
Accrued service – all pension built up before 1st April 2014 will be calculated on the basis of your final pay on retirement and will be accessible at your current normal pension age
Rule of 85 – members who currently qualify for Rule of 85 protections will continue to have that protection in the LGPS 2014.
If you are aged 57-59 when the new scheme starts, your pension on retirement will be calculated using both LGPS 2008 and LGPS 2014 scheme rules and you will get whichever calculation is better. This is to reflect protection for those closest to retirement that would otherwise be affected by a new pension age and is a general feature of the new public sector pension schemes.
If any members are compulsorily transferred out of LGPS employment they will be able to stay in the LGPS instead of being transferred to a new employer’s broadly comparable pension scheme (currently this is up to the new employer).
Next StepsThere will now be a full consultation of affected members to determine their views. Please ensure you attend your meeting and have your say.
Members will receive more information on the proposals as it become available and we will be discussing this further with the CSNC and other affected unions, who will also be consulting their LGPS members.
31st May 2012
TO: BRIGADE SECRETARIES
The Local Government Association (LGA) and trade unions (Unite, Unison and GMB) have today announced the outcome of their negotiations on new LGPS proposals (for England and Wales to take effect from 1st April 2014).
These proposals were signed off by government yesterday and have only been made available to other trade unions this morning.
These documents are not yet available in hard copy but they have now been posted on the LGPS website and can be accessed using the following address: http://www.lgps.org.uk/lge/core/page.do?pageId=15431012
Members will see 10 documents which include an overview of the 2014 proposal, a joint statement between LGA and the 3 trade unions involved in the negotiations and a more detailed explanation of the elements contained within it.
The next step involves a series of consultation on the proposals which are scheduled to report the position of individual unions. This will take place over the next few weeks to allow a view to be given before the autumn.
FBU members in the Local Government Pension Scheme will recognise the frustration in the lack of information being shared over the last few months but we intend to undergo a full consultation process now we have the details.
Further information will be available shortly and meetings will no doubt be arranged to hear the views of affected members.
Please ensure that you attend your branch meeting and have your say on this issue.
Yours in Unity,
More than 21,500 people have signed an FBU petition opposing Cumbria County Council’s controversial plan to close its Fire Control Room in mid-June, outsourcing emergency fire calls to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, 150 miles away.
A four-strong FBU delegation – Fire Control staff Christine Wilson and Morven Anson, Ade Kevern, Cumbrian brigade secretary and Kevin Brown, North West regional secretary are travelling to London as part of the union’s campaign to highlight the strength of local feeling against the planned cut.
Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale will be handing over 18,247 signatures to the Speaker of the House of Commons on behalf of the FBU and Cumbrian citizens. The union handed over 3,298 signatures to Cumbria County Council in February, triggering a full council debate. But councillors refused to budge.
Ade Kevern, FBU brigade secretary, said the council had continued to ignore local people’s strongly-felt desire for emergency fire calls to be answered locally. “The Government is always banging on about localism, but over 21,500 people in Cumbria have made it clear they want fire calls in Cumbria answered in Cumbria. Yet the County Council just ignores their views.”
Morven Anson, Cumbria Control FBU Chair said: “Cumbria County Council’s dismissive attitude towards the strength of feeling was hugely disappointing. The FBU will continue to fight for the best possible service for the people of Cumbria”.
Ade Kevern 07967570362
29 March 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS
Dear Brother / Sister
Please find attached, a copy of the above NJC circular number NJC/4/12, in respect of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, for your information.
As members will recall, the FBU had raised this matter at the NJC, and the employers agreed to make a joint approach to the UK Government. The Government did not accede to the NJC representation. This is very disappointing, but not surprising.
Assistant General Secretary
26th March 2012
TO: ALL CONTROL MEMBERS [Branches]
The FBU has a seat on the LGPS Joint Trade Union Side Officials Meeting where it feeds into the discussions and receives updates regarding the latest negotiations between the unions’ and Government.
The most recent meeting took place on 24th February where members were informed that the team negotiating the new LGPS was awaiting a response from Government on new scheme proposals formulated by the Negotiating Group. It was agreed that once the Negotiating Group was in a position to report on the proposals, that a meeting will be held to brief all LGPS TU Side unions’ simultaneously.
The timelines for negotiations mean that the so called ‘Big Issues’ such as accrual rates, contribution increases and Normal Pensionable Age (NPA) need to be agreed very soon. This will enable legislation to be formulated and be in place by March 2013 in order that a valuation takes place and for the new scheme to be introduced in April 2014.
We have made it clear at these meetings that the Heads of Agreement (HOA), which was agreed by the negotiators and forms the basis for negotiations around the changes to the scheme, is still unacceptable to the Fire Brigades Union.
This HOA brings forward several of the Hutton recommendations by one year to 2014 including a move to link the Normal Pension Age with the State Pension Age. The HOA also means that there will be a delay in the increase in employee contributions until 2014 to coincide with these other proposals.
Government are still expecting to realise the same savings over the same period but have proposed a position where this can be made up from lower contribution increases contributions and a swifter increase in NPA.
We have made clear that we do not accept the proposal for any increase in retirement age as our Control Members already work until 65; the HOA means the eventual introduction of an NPA of 68.
A key strand of our trade dispute is to try and gain access for FireFighter (Control) into a Fire Service Pension Scheme. As part of the ongoing negotiations with the Government the FBU has been having regular meetings with the Fire Minister and Civil Servants at CLG and have pressed home the wish for access by Control Members to a Fire Service Scheme. Negotiators recognise that this presents us with a number of challenges, but we will continue to develop our arguments around this point.
At the present time we are awaiting a report back from the LGPS Negotiating Group and once this is received we will be in a position to give you more information.
In the meantime you should continue to attend your branch meetings to make your views known and to hear feedback on the current situation in relation to the firefighter schemes. The Control Staff National Committee continues to meet to discuss pensions, amongst other issues, and to hear reports from your branches and to represent your interests at national level.
FBU Welcomes Additional Central Government Cash for Control Centres but Raises Concerns Over Mergers, Staff Cuts and North West Regional Control Centre
The FBU has welcomed the announcement of £74 million of central grant funding to upgrade fire service emergency command and control centres. But the union says it is deeply concerned about some mergers, the creation of a regional control in the north west and staff cuts.
The union says it is deeply concerned at the privatisation of London’s control room. The union is calling for a halt to any further mergers or outsourcing until there has been a review of resilience standards for emergency controls.
Sharon Riley, FBU Executive Council member for Control firefighters said: “Fire service command and control centres are central to how the service responds to all incidents including all major emergencies. There are changes being pushed through without proper scrutiny, public consultation or debate.
“The Government is currently consulting on the new National Framework for the fire service and we are pushing for a much more joined up approach to national resilience. The current approach of self-organised control amalgamations will not necessarily deliver improved national resilience.
“It is also clearly not the case that Government funding is increasing the number of people available in controls as the Government has claimed. The mergers mean there are fewer people in emergency controls, in some cases significantly so.
“Our command and control centres are the link between the public and firefighters. We’re not call centres, we are the hub of emergency incident command which is key to delivering a safe and effective service to the public and firefighters.
Cumbria Fire Union to Present Petition to Full Council and Call to Save Cumbria’s Only 999 Fire Control
Cumbria Fire Brigades Union are to present a public petition to a full county council meeting in Kendal on 16 February. The union is also calling for full public consultation over plans to axe the county’s only fire control room.
Of the 20,000 total signatures on the petition, over 3,000 will be presented to the council on Thursday, more than enough to trigger a full debate. The balance will be presented nationally at Westminster at a later date.
A small delegation of FBU members will attend and they will make a short presentation to the meeting.
The council plans to shut its control room in June with the loss of 12 control posts. They plan to move the work to Cheshire fire service’s fire control until 2014.
Staff were only given a week’s notice before the axe plan was put to the Cabinet last year. It was a bolt from the blue as the staff had agreed in December 2010 to the loss of three posts, down to 12, to keep the Cumbria control safe in the aftermath of the collapse of the FireControl Project.
The County Council failed to bid for £1.8 million of central Government funding to upgrade their existing control.
There was no consultation prior to the decision being made, no debate by the full fire authority, and the public and press were excluded when key financial information was discussed at Cabinet.
The national FireControl Project collapsed at a cost of at least £500 million, the planning was a disaster and the technology wouldn’t work. The project, backed by the county council, collapsed costing £500 million, one of the most expensive and disastrous IT projects ever.
Cumbria councillors have signed up to pay for the regional fire control centre without the technology being in place, one of the central fault lines of the defunct FireControl Project. Much is being made of new technology using GPS to direct the movement of fire appliances.
Cumbria FBU brigade secretary Adrian Kevern said “Much is being made of how good the technology is, making all the same claims made for the defunct and disgraced national FireControl Project. Our county is well placed to know that you cannot rely on GPS systems to move your emergency appliances around.
“GPS is useless when roads are blocked by snow, fallen trees after storms or are flooded and unpassable. When bridges are swept away or too damaged to cross your GPS is useless and we are well used to dealing with those scenario’s in Cumbria’s fire control.
“Council explanations for the move lack credibility and we doubt whether the Cabinet ever understood the full implications of the decision it was taking. The County council has not explained when and how they properly considered all of the plans nor subjected them to proper public scrutiny.
“For councillors to say it is enough to have consulted over a previous botched plan that has now been abandoned is absurd. We need proper public scrutiny and consultation, our councillors must think again.”
Ade Kevern (Cumbria)
6 February 2012
TO: ALL MEMBERS (CONTROL)
You may be aware that the Government intends to issue a medal to commemorate the forthcoming Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We understand that the medal is due to be issued to all emergency service staff who have completed five years service. There are a range of views within the Union regarding the issuing of medals and regarding the Jubilee, however, what the Executive Council has firmly argued is that Fire and Rescue staff working in Emergency Fire Control should be treated equally with other uniformed staff. As we have said in other regards, we are all ‘Part of the Team’.
We have raised our concerns at this issue with the CLG Fire Minister. Unfortunately we have not so far been successful on this front. We subsequently raised the matter at the National Joint Council last week and I am pleased to report that the Employers side supported our view and agreed to submit a joint letter on the subject. That will now be done and I will inform you of the outcome.
The Fire Brigades Union have hit back at reports that a petition aimed at saving Cumbria’s 999 Fire Control room has failed. An online e-petition was intended to run along side a more traditional paper petition was submitted without the Unions knowledge to a council meeting last Thursday.
As the online petition had attracted less than 3000 signatures it fell short of the number required to trigger a full council debate. However, the FBU traditional petition has actually attracted over 20,000 signatures and this number is growing daily, more than enough to trigger a debate.
Morven Anson, FBU Cumbria Control Chair said ‘Gary Strong’s claims are an insult to the 20,000 people throughout the county who have so far joined the campaign to save this invaluable local resource. The e-petition was submitted without our knowledge and it may result in us being unable to submit our actual petition next month, as planned.
“Closing down Cumbria’s only fire control room has never been properly debated at a full council meeting. This is an attempt to close down debate and railroad through the changes without them being subject to the scrutiny they deserve.
“The voters of Cumbria deserve more than to be served up the same tired and discredited script about the failed technology of the Government’s regional control project. That was a financial and technology disaster costing taxpayers over £500 million for a system which never worked.
“You cannot treat a safety critical service in this way. We will not have full debate shut down, the public deserves better than this.
“Cheshire plan to make a ‘healthy income’ from this project at the expense of the Cumbrian taxpayer. Gary Strong may claim to have no intention of reversing the decision, but it his duty as a County Councillor to take notice of the public’s views.”
The Fire Brigades Union say they will continue to fight the move to Winsford, Cheshire which is due to happen later this year resulting in a double disruption of the 999 service. They claim with the proposed move to Warrington now brought forward to the end of 2013, to continue with the move to Cheshire would be a waste of taxpayers money, particularly as Cumbria are set to foot the bill for the full cost.
Ade Kevern Mob:- 07967570362
Christine Wilson Mob:- 07761818188
Morven Anson Mob:- 07887602863