The impact of pension changes on workers in the WET sector

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Conference
2016 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
Date
26 February 2016
Decision

Conference notes that from 6 April 2016 the Basic State Pension and Second State Pension (S2P) will end and be combined/ replaced by a new State Pension.

The majority of members in the WET service group are currently paying reduced rate NI Contributions because they are in a work place pension scheme that is better than the Second State Pension. However, in April they will have started to pay the standard NI contributions and to earn a higher State Pension.

The personal costs will be significant – a meter reader earning almost £13,000 per year will pay an additional £16 per month, a laboratory manager on £20,000c will pay £16 per month and a lead service delivery manager on £35,000c will pay £36 per month more.

However, for many older workers there will not be sufficient time for their increased contributions to equate to the new full state pension before they retire.

There are also concerns that the WET employers’ additional contributions to the scheme have not been funded by government, and the costs will be significant – potentially costing jobs and destabilising the occupational pension scheme.

For women members this is in addition to the significant and speeded up increase in the state pension age, announced with little notice and impacting adversely on their retirement plans.

Conference therefore calls upon the WET service group executive to work with all appropriate bodies in UNISON to:

1. Raise awareness of the implications of the new pension arrangement, and provide information on options for older workers in the WET sector who may be adversely affected;

2. Work with the wider union in campaigning for a genuinely independent commission to review State Pension Age changes, include the impact on older women;

And to

3. Work with appropriate bodies in the WET Sector to look into the impact of working longer on the workforce; how members will be able to plan for earlier retirement; the potential for flexible retirement including drawing part pensions and working reduced hours.