End Discrimination in State Reciprocal Pension Arrangements for Black women

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2019 National Women's Conference
23 October 2018
Carried as Amended

Conference is seriously concerned that Black women workers face a triple whammy of discrimination in the Labour market,

• disadvantage in getting decent and well paid jobs

• destitution in retirement caused by low pay, an ethnic and racial pay gap

• lack of access to good occupational pensions,

This is additionally heightened if you are a woman due to maternity leave and caring responsibilities , where career breaks have had to be taken and reduced hours negotiated in order to balance such caring responsibilities, women still largely being seen as the main carer, thus reducing their national insurance contributions and as a consequence, “pension pot”.

Conference believes that the Reciprocal Pension Arrangements impacts disproportionately on people who are Black retiring and from predominantly Commonwealth countries. The UK State Pension is already a pittance compared to other developed countries. There should be no discrimination against people who work in Britain and have paid into the National Insurance Scheme and the country in which they chose to reside. Entitlement to the annual increase in state pension should be paid on the basis of pension contributions and not on the country where you chose to retire. Black women worldwide are still concentrated in lowest paid occupations and predominate precarious work.

Citizens of 30 EEA countries, Gibraltar and Switzerland will keep their entitlement if they move between those countries. This means that if you live in the EEA countries, Gibraltar and Switzerland and you receive a state pension – you will get an increase in your state pension every year. But if you live in any of the 47 Commonwealth countries (except Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica and Mauritius) your pension will be frozen at the rate and date of your retirement if you live outside the EU or EEA countries.

Conference calls on the National women’s Committee to work with the National Black members committee:

1)And the Retired Members Committee and the UNISON Pensions Unit to prepare an action plan to raise awareness of this issue and publish the facts on the UNISON website and within any appropriate in house women’s’ publications .

2)To lobby to end this discriminatory application of the state pensions increases between people choosing to retire in the EU, EEA and Commonwealth countries, recognising the plight of black women of the union who statistics tell us are still the most likely to join a union.

3)To produce a campaign and training pack on this issue.

4)To note the work of WASPI, heavily supported by UNISON, and make recommendations as to how they can incorporate the experiences of Black women within their work which this conference believes is currently under-represented.