UK - Public service union Unison wants bigger pensions for ambulance workers to reflect their shorter working lives. Unison says 70% of ambulance staff retire on ill-health grounds before the age of 55. It believes their reduced working lives should be supplemented with appropriate pension options.
The union is calling for an amendment to the existing NHS Pension Scheme or a completely new scheme for ambulance workers.
The move comes at a time when the government is facing calls to increase the retirement age for all workers.
Pensions officer Glyn Jenkins said: “Many ambulance workers who have to retire on ill-health are completely burnt out and incapable of alternative employment.
“To make matters worse, those who are still able to undertake regular employment find redeployment within the NHS almost impossible due to the specialist nature of their work.”
He added that the NHS seemed “oblivious to the trauma” that is caused to long serving members of the ambulance staff.
“The NHS must be made to face the problem of early retirement in the ambulance service without further delay. The true cost must be recognised and not hidden from view by spreading the cost throughout the NHS Pension Scheme when members retire on ill-health.”
A spokesman for the NHS pensions agency said that he was aware of Unison’s arguments, but that such a concession was unlikely as its scheme had moved away from early retirement in 1995.
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