- 2003 Water Service Group Conference
- 5 March 2003
Conference notes that the issue of pensions has never been so much in the public eye, with widespread concern about the ability of schemes to deliver security in retirement. Conference further notes that Water and Environment Agency members belong to a number of different pensions schemes, which have different terms and conditions.
Conference welcomes the fact that some of these schemes – unlike the main public sector schemes – do not discriminate against unmarried partners in the payment of surviving partner’s benefits. Indeed over 90% private sector schemes now recognise unmarried partners. However, a number of the schemes that our members are in, including the Environment Agency scheme, restrict such benefits to married partners only, a fact that the members concerned are not always aware of.
Conference notes that this affects both opposite sex and same sex unmarried couples. The Government has stated that – despite the fact that lesbians and gay men may not marry – this will not constitute indirect discrimination against lesbians and gay men under the new sexual orientation discrimination legislation. UNISON continues to challenge this legal view.
Conference instructs the Water and Environment Agency Service Group Executive to:
1Publicise information to members about the provisions of the different water and Environment Agency schemes in relation to surviving partner benefits;
2Continue to press for an extension of all schemes to pay benefits to unmarried partners.
Conference calls on branches and individual pension scheme members to raise this matter with their trustees and lobby their MPs for change to the statutory schemes.