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CSP criticises government proposals as details of NHS pension contributions emerge

28 July 2011 - 4:31pm

The Department of Health has issued its proposals on increased NHS pension contributions.

The proposals would mean the majority of CSP members paying between 0.64% and 1.19% more into their pensions in April 2012.

Only the start

Further, as yet unspecified, rises are due in 2013 and 2014.

An increase in contributions averaging 3.2% over three years from 2012 was first announced in the government's comprehensive spending review in October 2010.

CSP employment relations and union services assistant director Peter Finch said: 'The proposals have been formulated without any discussion with the unions representing NHS staff.

Cutting the deficit

'The case has not been made for the increases – they are purely part of the government deficit cutting plans.

'CSP members have already had a cut in pensions via the change in indexation this April. With high inflation and a two-year pay freeze causing a real squeeze on living standards, NHS physiotherapy staff should not have to pay once again via higher pension contributions.

Scheme is affordable and sustainable

'We continue to argue that the NHS pension scheme is both affordable and sustainable and that the changes agreed and introduced in 2008, including cost sharing arrangements, provide a viable scheme.'

The Department of Health and NHS employers have only just begun negotiations with health unions about changes that could see the end of the final salary scheme in the NHS and a rise in pension age.

Proposals not legitimate

Mr Finch said: 'We and other unions in the NHS staff side have questioned the legitimacy of launching a consultation on these proposals now as we have yet to start talks on major issues like scheme reforms and pension age.

'The CSP will continue to work with the other NHS unions and continue negotiations on pension reforms to see if an agreement can be reached.

Strike preparations

'But we know how important the NHS pension is to CSP members and are also preparing for possible industrial action should those negotiations fail.'

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