UNISON - Fighting for decent pensions
Members in the the Local Government pension Scheme (England and Wales) and the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme - voted over the summer to accept negotiated changes to the schemes.
The changes followed long negotiations after the successful strike on 30 November 2011.
In the LGPS - covering workers in five UNISON service groups - members across England and Wales voted 90.2% in favour of accepting the proposed changes.
The union led the negotiations, which resulted in proposals to maintain the current contribution levels for 90% of LGPS members, introduce a 50/50 'low cost' scheme for the low paid, and move from a final salary to a career average scheme.
Welcoming the ballot result, UNISON Head of Local Government Heather Wakefield said:
"These were tough negotiations, but with a focus on the majority of members who earn less than £21,000 a year, we have ensured that current LGPS members can afford to remain in the scheme and those who could not afford to do so to date can now join via the 50/50 option.
"This is vital for many of our members who have suffered a decline in earnings as a result of the Coalition's pay freeze policies. Contributions are now on a fairer progressive basis. We will continue to campaign with all of the union, through the TUC, against the proposals to increase the state retirement age.
"UNISON will now move into the next stage of discussions on improving the governance of the new scheme which is due to come into effect in 2014."
In Scotland, where pensions are a devolved matter and there is a separate Scottish LGPS, there have been no proposals to alter the scheme or increase contributions.
In the NHS, members voted on final proposals from the government for pensions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This saw a low turnout of 14.8% of those eligible to vote. Of that 14.8% the result was close with 50.4% voting to reject and 49.5% to accept.
"The low turnout coupled with the close vote shows there is no mandate to endorse the pensions proposals, but equally no mandate to take further industrial action," says head of health Christina McAnea.
"We need to consider the next steps in the pensions campaign and we will be talking to the other health unions."
In Scotland, the union balloted for, and started, separate industrial action over the 2012 contribution increases.
Pensions are a devolved and ministers agreed to talks, over medium and long-term changes to the NHS Pension Scheme, but refused to discuss this year's changes.
Around 1,000 UNISON members, icluding meat hygiene inspectors across the UK, Ofsted inspectors, police ombudsmen in Norhtern Ireland, Welsh government workers representing children in court, plus regeneration, sustaintability and innovation officers in education in Scotland, are covered by the Principal Civil Service Scheme.
They voted in favour of negotiated changes in April.