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FBU – Pensions Update Fire Brigades Union Update on pension proposals.

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Presentation on theme: "FBU – Pensions Update Fire Brigades Union Update on pension proposals."— Presentation transcript:

1 FBU – Pensions Update Fire Brigades Union Update on pension proposals

2 Membership consultation Intro - 2012, - decision to take full and active part in the NPA Review and the Opt Out review and, Dependent on the outcomes and the government’s responses, the FBU would then determine our next steps Those two reviews have now concluded so we are now at the critical stage of the campaign FBU – Pensions Update

3 Membership consultation EC met in February and agreed to: Immediately consult with members and initiate meetings (Brigade / Branch / Mass / Open) We must have a consistent approach Lobbying MPs Head Office attending regions Speakers Notes/PowerPoint Presentation Circulars and bulletins FBU – Pensions Update

4 Membership consultation Going to cover 4 phases of campaign so far: 1.Where we have been 2.Where we are currently 3.What are we currently doing 4.What next FBU – Pensions Update

5 Where have we been Initially coordinated with other unions (TUC) TUC agreed to go to scheme specific talks FBU disagreed with this – very confident we had strong arguments re FRS schemes Key points Normal Pension Age (NPA) Increased employee contributions Our position- the proposals were: Unsustainable, Unacceptable, Unworkable & Unfair FBU – Pensions Update

6 Where have we been FBU campaign Evidence based case Actuaries – experts in their field Medicine / Occ. health – Academics / Professors Lobbied Politically provided MP’s briefings EDM 2049 Consulted consistently with Members via; Circulars Briefings / 8 special pension bulletins YouGov surveys FBU – Pensions Update

7 High level talks – Fire Minister, CLG –Some movement - but not enough Delay in setting the cost ceiling = increased by 5% 50% reduction in Year 1 contributions– this was unique Government then agreed to: Detailed review of opt outs Data collection Face to face (Research Works) and Scottish questionnaire This review – also unique FBU – Pensions Update Where have we been

8 Other Unions are now in the Phase 2 stage of their pension campaigns, the FBU are: Only beginning – big fight ahead We always knew our campaign would come to a head in early 2013 when: Both reviews were due (NPA & Opt Out) Year 2 contribution Increase announced FBU Confident in our substantive evidence produced and arguments made FBU – Pensions Update

9 Where have we been NPA review: Proposed by the National Employers Review paid for by Government Fire Minister appointed NPA Chair - Dr Tony Williams FBU were Employees’ side rep James Dalgleish, (HR LFB) Employers side rep FBU only organisation to submit evidence to NPA Review. Detailed evidence submitted. N.B. Williams’ review – not ours FBU – Pensions Update

10 Where have we been Key that the NPA review took account of physical nature of our occupation Terms of Reference - agreed by all 1.To consider if age 60 was an appropriate NPA 2.Reasonable expectation that scheme members can work to, and retire at scheme’s proposed NPA FBU – Pensions Update

11 Where have we been The FBU Set up our own NPA working Group Researched all references to firefighter fitness and NPA – UK and abroad Developed arguments – experts, civil servants, ministers employers and politicians Throughout the full process No evidenced counter arguments FBU – Pensions Update

12 Where have we been Tactics Utilised: Evidenced based arguments Already moved government Different approach to other unions Industrial Action alone has not worked Others have already settled Evidence to support any necessary action Done more than others Different timescale FBU – Pensions Update

13 Where are we now Contribution Increases Opts out reviews finished Part 1 Opt Out ‘numbers’ – Government saying their assumed 1% opt out figure is still correct We believe low numbers due to: Members following FBU’s advice to to ‘stay in’ + the 50% reduction on Year 1’s proposed increase Part 2 and Scottish questionnaire Research Works - Members attitudes: Figures show increase in opt outs are seriously being considered FBU – Pensions Update

14 Where are we now Contribution increases To date, No indication of any reduction on Year 2 contribution increases Assume Government position is: 2013 - Year 2 full proposed amount (1.3% FPS and 0.8% NFPS) Higher tiers for higher earners Increases justified as ‘Opt Outs’ still within their own predicted levels of 1% FBU – Pensions Update

15 Where are we now FBU warn The number of opt outs wont raise savings sought Professional advice – if Opt Outs are as high as surveys predict it will result in cash flow problems, deficits in the schemes YouGov 2012 survey shows likely Opt Outs up from 27% to 54% - Scottish Fire Service survey shows this figures as high as 74% FBU – Pensions Update

16 Where are we now NPA review report released in Jan 2013: Broadly supports FBU position Does not support NPA of 60 Suggests that it may be attainable for future Based on untried, untested, uncosted ideas Moves away from govt policy on localism FBU – Pensions Update

17 Where are we now FRS’s to provide advice to those recruited at 42VO 2 - recommended standard (NFST)- they will need to improve their fitness, make lifestyle changes or they wont reach NPA of 60 Recommends option to retire from 55 - with actuarial reduction from NPA – no further details given Additional protection for FPS – no further details given Review suggests 51% current firefighters between 50-54 below recommended fitness standard Review suggests 66% current firefighters between 55-59 below recommended fitness standard FBU – Pensions Update

18 Where are we now Review states: Significant numbers of firefighters would be unable to maintain required fitness standard to age 60, as such: 1.Forced to leave without pension 2.Dismissed on capability Women disproportionately affected Government trying to spin that: Firefighters are fitter than the general population – claim made on limited evidence (4 out of 57 FRAs) Report acknowledges previous studies say firefighters are no fitter than the general population FBU – Pensions Update

19 Where are we now Report states: Stn Manager and above can maintain fitness until 60 Flawed claim - based on acceptance of lower fitness requirement for SM roles and above Majority of FRS’s use same fitness level for SM’s and above as firefighters No agreed fitness standard for FF’s or S/M’s and above FRS employers are not seeking this change FBU – Pensions Update

20 Where are we now Government spin relating to report Best case scenario only: 15% of FF’s unfit by age 55 & 23% unfit at age 60 Figures are Flawed because: Based utilising the higher entry standard of 47 VO 2 N.B. This is not the real situation Using the current entry standard of 42 VO 2 (NFST) 51% of FF’s unfit at age 50-54 & 66% at age 55-60 FBU – Pensions Update

21 Current position Significant numbers wont be able to maintain required fitness level – leave without pension or capability dismissal Women firefighters will be disproportionally affected Reverse 20+ years of progress on equality within the FRS FBU – Pensions Update

22 Where are we now Legislation – going through the process (HoC & HoL) FBU attempted for NPA clause amendment Asking for flexibility Went through commons - no vote, resisted all way Proposed in the Lords – moved by lord Kennedy Met Lord Newby – Bill sponsor from treasury (Lib Dem) Recognised arguments – no counter arguments Lords did not support FBU – Pensions Update

23 Raising concerns with ministers and others Considering possible legal challenges CLG – still considering government response Informed them their interpretation is flawed Letters to Fire Ministers, Scotland, NI and Wales –Letter - Roseanna Cunningham to Brandon Lewis FBU – Pensions Update What are we currently doing

24 Currently: No indication of any movement from government Fire Minister’s letter states: 60 is ‘attainable’ – not ‘appropriate’ Remembering the ToR of the NPA review stated: To consider if age 60 was an appropriate NPA FBU – Pensions Update What are we currently doing

25 Next steps FBU: Awaiting official government response to NPA review Awaiting official response Year 2 contributions Public Service Pensions Bill – is proceeding Government may: Ignore all of our arguments & their own review and push on with NPA and Contribution increases That position is unacceptable to us FBU – Pensions Update

26 Next Steps Our position on the ‘Proposed Scheme’ must be that it is: Affordable Sustainable Fair NPA: must take account of the physical nature of occupation & scheme members should reasonably expect to work to and retire at NPA Current proposals don't do this FBU – Pensions Update

27 Next steps Unacceptable because: Significant numbers of firefighters may have to leave without access to a pension or face dismissal on capability Currently - 66% of 55-60 year olds below recommended fitness standards Evidenced by the FBU, Professionals and by their own NPA Review findings FBU – Pensions Update

28 Next steps Conference decisions 2011Annual Conference - Continue negotiations, explore all avenues, lobby, look at legal challenges – if campaign is not successful prepare for national strike action 2012 Special Conference EC Policy Statement - Pensions FBU made it clear to ministers we would initiate strike action if not sufficient progress on negotiations or there was imposition Conference supported taking full and active part in the two reviews (NPA & Opt Out) prior to balloting FBU – Pensions Update

29 Next steps 2013 Position – 2 reviews concluded – no indication of government moving their position; Prepare to ballot for strike action Evidenced reasons why the current position is not acceptable – our own and theirs FBU have utilised professionals – Professors, Academics / experts in their field (Pensions / Medical) Their review – We can’t let them ignore its findings FBU – Pensions Update

30 Next steps 2013 Position – doing nothing is not an option No scaremongering, no spinning, no false promises, Realistic expectations – massive fight ahead, FBU will continue lobbying There are risks of division – protection offered / differing schemes Bigger risk if don’t take action Crunch time – mass meetings needed prepare members for a ballot for strike action FBU – Pensions Update

31 Questions? FBU – Pensions Update

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