FBU Scottish Region: Pensions Update and Briefing note,
- The Executive Council heard reports from two meetings with fire minister Brandon Lewis before and after the three recent periods of strike action.
- CLG have agreed to further talks. Significantly this includes some areas around scheme design for the proposed 2015 scheme. These are areas which have previously been ruled out by CLG officials.
- Head office are clarifying precisely what these areas might include and seeking new actuarial advice on the issues involved. CLG agreed further use of GAD for this aspect.
- There is no indication as yet of whether any movement is possible but the Executive Council agreed that this opening should be explored.
- In addition discussion also continues with the national employers (English and Welsh) on the No Job No Pension issue, fitness standards, capability etc.
- Two further meetings have been provisionally set up with Brandon Lewis (22 and 28 January 2014) as well as three EC meetings (23 and 29 Jan and 4 Feb 2014).
- The Executive Council is aware of the possible need to escalate action should no progress have been made following the above.
- The EC agreed to consider issues around Hardship Funds should further action be necessary.
- We also agreed to step up political lobbying, especially around the issue of the consultation on contribution increases. Various aspects of pension changes are also being considered by our legal advisors with a view to identifying whether any further challenges might be possible.
- A meeting was held with the Scottish Public Pensions Authority, the Fire branch civil servants on the 20th December and a number of meetings will be programmed for the forthcoming months to discuss the proposals for the 2015 scheme.
- Some progress has been made with an amendment to the normal pension age legislation which has still to be approved by the NI Assembly.
- A meeting is taking place between Executive Council member and WAG Fire Adviser Lee Howell in Cardiff.
The Minister’s office has been in contact again, and another meeting will be scheduled shortly