UK - A pensions deal for public sector part-time workers that would force them to pay backdated employer contributions has been slammed by unions.
The Treasury made the offer to six unions – the NUT, Unifi, Unison, the Nasuwt, ATL and Natfhe – which are threatening legal action unless nearly 40,000 public part-time workers are given their full pension rights.
But the Treasury says the deal will not provide the part-time workers with tax relief on their backdated pension contributions.
And to get their backdated benefits, workers will have to pay employers’ contributions for the period too.
Unison accused the Treasury of deliberately offering terms that will limit the number of workers who can claim compensation.
Head of pensions Glyn Jenkins said: “Our view is that this is discrimination. These people are victims and they should be treated in a similar way to those who were missold a personal pension.
“They didn’t have to pay interest, so why should part-timers have to? A lot of part-time workers won’t bother with this.
“After all, the Treasury has a vested interest in keeping down the number who backdate.”
Norton Rose associate Kevin Burge agreed.
“A lot of part-timers are on low salaries, and making the backdated contributions is not going to be easy for them,” he said.
“It’s clear that they got to pay before they’ll get any pension entitlement. That fact in itself will deter a lot of part-timers from claiming.”
He added that government plans to allow workers to pay their backdated contributions in instalments was redundant, as part-timers will not have the disposable income to be able to make the payments.
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