UK - The government is close to settling its dispute with public sector part-time workers over backdated pension rights, unions claim.
The NUT, Unifi, Unison, Nasuwt, ATL and Natfhe are all appealing against the verdicts from 27 part-timer test cases held at an employment tribunal in Nottingham in August which, they say, have limited workers’ pension rights.
The unions claim that court battles contesting these issues could last years, while out of court settlements would save employers a “fortune” in legal fees.
So far, only private sector firms – notably high street banks HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Barclays – have made such settlements.
But union sources believe the government is moving towards making a settlement following the Treasury’s decision to contact the six unions on the issue.
And they say the Department of Health is also showing signs that it is willing to make a settlement.
Trades Union Congress senior employment rights officer Sarah Veale said: “The Treasury has sent us a note about various issues to do with backdating pension rights, which we thought was odd because none of the government departments have indicated that they are willing to negotiate.
“Read into that what you like.”
If the government moves to settle with its part-timers, it is likely to face a huge compensation bill.
Two-thirds of the 60,000 tribunal cases that the TUC is backing are from public sector workers looking to claim pension benefits.
Norton Rose associate Kevin Burge said that whatever public sector employers decide, the private sector would wait for the appeals.
“Private sector employers will wait, because one of the big issues that unions are appealing on is the application of TUPE.
“If the decision is overruled, it’s clearly going to have a significant impact upon the private sector, particularly where there’s been a lot of contracting-out and outsourcing going on.”
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has published contingency planning guidance for trustees to help them manage risk.
The trustees of the Autoenrolment.co.uk and Moore Stephens master trusts have been fined for "deficient" chair's statements after failed court action against The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
Henry Tapper shares his thoughts on how IGCs could provide value for money statements that people wanted to read