Use your vote in NHS pensions ballot, says the CSP

The CSP is urging CSP members working in the NHS and related social enterprise companies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to use their vote in the forthcoming consultative ballot over changes to their NHS pension scheme.

The ballot opens on 12 April and will ask members to either accept the proposed final agreement published on 9 March, or reject and, if so, to indicate whether they are ready to undertake sustained industrial action in a bid to secure an improved offer.

Members in Scotland are not being balloted at present as changes to their NHS pension are following a different timetable.

In a meeting with Scotland’s health minister Nicola Sturgeon on 28 March unions, including the CSP, heard that the Edinburgh government would allow talks to continue, if necessary until the end of the year. However the new scheme would need to be in place by 2015.

In addition, the costings for a new scheme in Scotland would need to remain within those set by Westminster.

However, Ms Sturgeon indicated that she wanted to have ‘maximum flexibility’ within that framework to agree proposals that ‘reflected’ the workforce in Scotland and the ‘unique’ partnership working between unions, employers and the devolved government.

Employee contribution rises would come in at the same time as in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on 1 April this year, but increases for year 2 and year 3 were ‘very much on the table’, she said.

Members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who haven’t received their ballot papers by 5pm on Monday 16 April should contact the CSP on 0207 306 6692 by 20 April to ensure participation in the ballot.

Alex MacKenzie, chair of the industrial relations committee, stressed that the CSP would not accept or reject the proposals without members having their say first.

‘It is very important members vote in this ballot. A low turnout would enable the government to argue CSP members don’t care or are happy with the proposals which we do not believe is the case. Please vote.’

Was it worth taking action on 30 Nov?

After the CSP and other unions announced their ballots last year, and following the strike on 30 November, there were a number of improvements on the original offer:

  • The accrual rate for the new career average scheme improved to 1/54ths
  • Protection was offered for those within ten years of retirement, including for special classes
  • Additional taper protection was offered
  • Fair deal pension protections were retained and extended for staff transferring out of the NHS, with a commitment to review how they apply to any qualified provider
  • A tripartite review will look at working longer if in physically demanding roles like physiotherapy
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