CSP ends talks on Scottish NHS

The CSP and other health unions in Scotland have called off further talks with the Scottish Government over changes to NHS pensions.

The talks had been set up after the 2011 Hutton report recommended, among other related matters, that members of public sector pension schemes should pay higher contributions.

The decision means pension changes will be imposed from April, bringing Scottish NHS staff in line with their counterparts elsewhere in the UK.

The unions took their decision at a meeting on 14 January.

They argued that the combination of restrictions imposed by Westminster on the scope of negotiations and the Scottish Government’s failure to offer any proposals that would be acceptable to NHS staff meant the changes were being imposed.

Claire Ronald, senior negotiating officer for Scotland, said: ‘There was room for the Scottish Government to consider ways of off-setting the contribution increases, but it refused to do so.’

Peter Finch, CSP’s assistant director for employment relations and union services, said: ‘The society’s employment relations team has, in agreement with the society’s industrial relations committee’s chair and vice chair, decided not to ballot members in Scotland.’   

The negotiations over NHSScotland’s  (NHSS) pension scheme, which began in spring 2012, aimed to reach agreement over employees’ pension contributions in 2013 and 2014, and other recommendations in the Hutton report.

Initially, the only restrictions on the negotiations were that the scheme had to be based on career average revalued earnings (CARE) and stay within cost boundaries set by the UK Treasury.

Because of these discussions the CSP’s industrial relations committee decided not to ballot members in Scotland at the same time as members elsewhere in the UK. Last May members outside Scotland reluctantly backed the changes.

In November Scotland’s finance minister John Swinney announced that the UK Treasury had confirmed the normal pension age for NHSS Pension Scheme members must match state pension age.

He also said further increases in employees’ contribution rates would be imposed from April 2013.

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