Portable Pensions in Public Services

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2005 National Delegate Conference
28 February 2005
Carried as Amended

Conference is concerned that workers in contracted out public services sometimes end up moving between a whole series of different pension schemes, as a result of being passed between different employers each time the service is retendered. This can expose workers to difficult decisions about whether to transfer their pension rights, and may result in some workers losing out.

Conference believes that all public service workers should have the right to join the appropriate public sector pensions scheme, including those workers employed by private sector contractors. Conference notes in particular that staff working in the NHS who are employed by private sector contractors are currently not able to participate in the NHS pension scheme.

Conference further believes that one of the most valued features of the public sector pension schemes is the existence of the public sector scheme transfer club. This enables workers moving from one scheme to another to carry their service across on a day for day basis for benefits of the same value, unlike workers transferring their pension between private sector schemes who often experience a loss in pension benefits.

Conference notes that one of the disadvantages of a move by some public sector schemes from a final salary to a career average structure is that this would make the operation of the transfer club exceedingly complex and would be likely to have a detrimental impact on the benefits received by those transferring their pension from those schemes that were final salary to those that were career average. As a result, career mobility in the public sector could be damaged and there is a risk that the continuance of the public section transfer club would be placed in jeopardy.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to:

1)campaign for the extension of the NHS pension scheme to allow the participation of staff working for the NHS who are employed by the private sector;

2)campaign for all public service contractors to be required to offer their staff working in the public services membership of the appropriate public sector scheme;

3)ensure that, during the forthcoming negotiations on the reform of the public sector pension schemes, the impact that any proposed changes will have on the operation of the public sector transfer club is taken into full consideration.