Monday, 7 September 2009

Union Stands Accused of Hypocrisy

Unison – the public services union and sometime supporter of equal pay (but not in South Lanarkshire) – stands accused of hypocrisy over plans to cut its own employees’ pension scheme.

According to the Time newspaper today – the union which has campaigned fiercely against government cutbacks to pensions in the public sector - is to cut back on the pension scheme for its own staff.

Unison, says it can no longer afford its final-salary scheme for employees - and has set out initial proposals to cut costs.

Unison officials have accused their own bosses of “sheer hypocrisy” – because the union has been so aggressive in opposing similar cuts in public sector pensions.

“Only a year ago the union launched a massive campaign and staged two days’ strike action to protect local government pensions. Now they are preparing to sacrifice their own staff benefits,” one official told the Times.

Unison has launched a series of campaigns to protect public sector pay and pensions and in the past two years has staged several days of strike action against proposed cuts.

Only last week the union vehemently opposed government proposals to reduce town hall final-salary pensions.

Papers seen by The Times show that the union’s pension funds face a deficit - that has more than doubled in the past year.

“Given the seriousness of the deficit, it is unlikely that a recovery package is going to be possible without an increase in employee contributions,” the paper also says.

Senior union officials claimed that there had also been informal discussions about scrapping the Unison final-salary pension scheme - and replacing it with the much less generous career average scheme.

The Civil Service has already introduced a career average scheme for new entrants - and council employers are considering the proposal.

The full newspaper article can be read online at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/