UK - The UK's largest health union expressed outrage over proposals to modify the NHS pension scheme and raise the pension age to 65, vowing to fight the changes "all the way".
Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, said: “MPs who will retire at the next election with a five-star pension package are plotting to make NHS staff work longer for less pension. No wonder trust is at rock bottom.
“To suggest that NHS workers should be forced to work until they are 65 is living in cloud cuckoo land.”
Prentis said 73% of paramedics were forced to retire due to ill-health before they reached the age of 60. Forcing staff to work longer would simply raise the level of ill-health retirements and end up costing the NHS more, he added.
The union also slammed the plan to move towards a career average, rather than final salary or DB pension scheme.
“Just as the NHS is introducing better training and career opportunities to help staff move up through the ranks, [the government is] taking away a very good incentive to take on additional responsibilities and try to improve your career chances,” Prentis said.
Meanwhile, local authorities are being asked for their views on far-reaching strategic changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), which aim to safeguard the scheme and ensure its affordability in the future and could come into effect as early as 2008.
The consultation follows an ODPM green paper that suggests a review is necessary as people are living and drawing benefits for longer.
LGPC chair Roy Wilson said: “We are seeking councils’ views on our recommendations to manage the LGPS as a final salary defined benefit scheme. We envisage that such a scheme would be open to both employees and councillors, with the same contribution rates for all scheme members.”
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