Equal pensions for WET workers

Back to all Motions

2016 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
29 February 2016

Conference welcomes the growing recognition of same sex partnerships, including the 2005 Civil Partnership Act and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Acts that came into force in England and Wales and in Scotland in 2014. However, conference echoes UNISON’s condemnation of the inequality entrenched in these laws with regard to surviving partner workplace pensions. The law requires only that benefits for surviving same sex civil partners and spouses are calculated on contributions since 5 December 2005 following the introduction of civil partnerships, not for the whole period of pension scheme membership.

Conference welcomes UNISON’s continuing campaign for a change in law, but recognises that this is unlikely under the current Westminster government. Conference notes that UNISON has negotiated full equality for surviving partner benefits, irrespective of the gender of the partners, for many of the pension schemes in which we have members, but not all. The schemes that have introduced full equality acknowledge that the cost to the schemes of this is negligible, while the difference it makes to the individuals concerned can be considerable, particularly at such a time of loss.

Conference calls on the Water, Environment and Transport service group executive to check the workplace schemes to which UNISON WET members contribute and where there is unequal provision for same sex surviving partners, negotiate for full equality as a matter of urgency.