Government concede victory to unions over pension discrimination for over 4.1 million public sector workers

Stephen Barclay, chief secretary to the Treasury. Pic Credit: gov.uk

Judicial review forces ministers to open negotiations and defer major changes to pension schemes until 2022

Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury,chose a heavy news day today to slip out an announcement that the Treasury had finally given way to the courts and dropped pension discrimination against 4.1 million workers in Whitehall, the NHS,teachers, prison officers and firefighters and ambulance staff .

This came after losing legal battles to the FBU firefighters union, the GMB, the PCS Whitehall union and the Prison Officers Association over what was seen as age discrimination over cuts to their workplace pensions.

The announcement means that terms offered to staff will revert back to the original position – and that includes a lower retirement age – until 2022 and everything is up to grabs during fresh consultations.

£2.4 billion in pension surpluses

It could also mean that some £2.4 billion at present held in pension surpluses, particularly in Whitehall, may have to be redistributed back to the workers in reduced pension contributions or better benefits.

The sting in the tail is that the government want the costs of the victory won by the FBU at the Court of Appeal – which scrapped a discriminatory system that put younger people employed at a disadvantage – should be taken out of the pension surpluses.

The story of the FBU victory appeared in an article in December on this blog.

Any such moves are to be fiercely resisted by the unions. As one GMB official put it: ” We are not going to accept we should pay when we won the argument and the government lost.”

“They knew they were wrong”

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary said: 

“It’s welcome that Ministers have in the face of sustained pressure finally U-turned on the pause they imposed on the drawing down of pension benefits. Their indefensible decision has left public sector workers facing financial hardship. 

“GMB has long campaigned for the lifting of the benefits pause the Government unilaterally imposed on our members without consultation. Hard-working public sector workers should now get what they’re owed. 

“The Government has had to make a U-turn because they knew they were in the wrong and were poised to lose the Judicial Review GMB and others had brought against them.  

“Any suggestion that it should now be public sector workers who now bear the costs of Ministers’ discriminatory errors will be fiercely resisted. GMB will not stand by if the Government intends to break its word and force public servants to pick up the bill for its own mistakes. “

The timing of the climb down is interesting as it comes a week before the court of appeal hears the case against raising the pension age from 60 to 66 without proper notice brought by BackTo60 on behalf of 3.8 million women demanding full restitutionb for the loswt money.

The GMB which led the charge over part of the fight is 100 per cent behind the 50swomen and their cause to get their money back.

38 thoughts on “Government concede victory to unions over pension discrimination for over 4.1 million public sector workers

  1. Well done and congratulations on your victory. Let’s hope and pray that common sense, fairness and justice continues for the ladies of ‘Back to 60’ at the appeal court on the 21st.
    They surely cannot deny any longer that we have been discriminated against with all the new damming evidence which has come to light since the original appeal.
    Pray justice is finally done.

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  2. Thanks David once again for having your finger on the pulse. as one of the ~1950swomen robbed of 6 years pension I cannot wait for the review next week

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    • Me too,…..at the risk of mixing metaphors, I do hope there is finally, ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ ,…& that this is not just another ‘false dawn’…..

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  3. Well no surprise to back to 60 women!!

    Every which way this government cover up, discriminate and make the working class suffer. They’re not content with messing up everything they touch that in turn costs the tax payer billions. They show no remorse, they dig themselves into deeper holes taking us with them. Then they come out with stupid mantras and move in different directions to cover up the pile they’ve left behind them.

    They talk of us using common sense, maybe they should look it up as I have seen not a shred of it yet from them. It’s like watching a film set of dumb and dumber.

    Fiasco after fiasco, cover up after cover up. The British public are more astute than any of our MPs realise. You can fool the people some of the time but you can’t fool them all of the time.

    Sadly the conservatives are floundering from one cock up to the next. They’re even contradicting their own MPs.

    This wonderful Country and the amazing people in it deserve better than this.

    They were elected to run the Country which means running for the good of the people. Not lining the pockets of all your bezzy mates, not giving jobs to your bezzy mates, not standing by your bezzy mates or family when they go against your guidelines.

    Work for us not yourselves. Yes the Country could save billions if Rishi started looking at dodgy dealings.

    If you expect the people of this Country to get behind you then Boris you have to clean up your hidden agendas. It’s blatant for us all to see and if you don’t you are moving into troublesome waters.

    Great Britain is floundering in the mass of inexperience of those in charge. The pensions debacles only a small part of the Court cases heading their way if they don’t get their act together.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well done David again and well done the Unions! Roll on Tuesday 21st July! I was born Tuesday 21st July 1959 along with my identical twin . She died and saved me. Hoping we get a fitting birthday present!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done for this report David surely this is more ammo for our case we have been discriminated against without a measure of a doubt adding 6 years after this result is deffo not equality! Would like to send my regards to our Legal team and wish them the very best of luck for our appeal next week and many many thanks to you David and all at back to 60 too for all the hard work and time you have all put in to helping us 50s Women I can’t thank you enough….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Does this finally give us 50s women hope that the government will reverse the position on retirement age….I would like to see it at 60 but could live with the 62/63age and back dated pension from then..
    That would seem fair and just…let’s live in hope..women have long been fighting for rights hopefully we can at last win another small victory…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well done David on your victory today… I would like to thank you for all you have done for us 50’s women and hopeful we all get the justice we deserve on the 21/22July … thank you all who is fighting for us

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  8. There is justice in this world after all but why should we need to fight for it. Well done David and prayers in abundance for back to 60 in the courts. Personally think its fairer with 3 judges. Not 2 . Thanks to all concerned for fighting on behalf of so many.

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  9. As always,a brilliant and welcome account of this victory which, without you, one suspects would have passed with little publicity. This gives much needed hope to women born in 1950s who struggle on with systematic inequality, stolen pension funds and little chance of paid employment. Thank you, David.

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  10. Yes, seems like excellent news could well be in the offing for all us women born in the 1960’s,…at last. Well done to the legal team & thanks. Let’s hope we get the justice we deserve & are repaid in full,…with some compensation (?)….Thank you David, for letting us know.

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  11. Thankyou for helping us ,I had no idea I wasn’t getting my pension when I was 59.65 on Sunday so only one more year of struggling,I just want what I was promised started full time work just before 16 bit had had holiday jobs and Saturday jobs since12 you started early in those days! Part time when my kids were young,Happy to do volunteer work but don’t have the and at 60 was going to help with grandkids so my kids could work they would have paid more tax than me as they could have earned more ,bit had to work on instead in low paid job which didn’t even pay enough to pay tax so they lost out.

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    • That is true..50s Women were deprived by todays standards back in the 60/70s ..We didn’t have our jobs held open for us ..There was no lengthy maternity pay or maternity leave .18weeks at most ,6 weeks before due date and 12 weeks after ..No Paternity leave .we were left to get on with it ! We didnt have Child care Vouchers ..We didn’t have food banks ..Women were paid lower wages than Men.There were no nurseries attached to the work place .and finally we were given a £25 grant to pay for nappies and a pram that would have covered it ,back when it first came out ..Oh and gaps in our employment when we went on to have another Child …and now we have to endure this !

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  12. I was born Dec 1952 and my official retirement date was Sept 2015 just before the New higher rate pension commenced in April 16 .To find a male Cousin born the same time was eligble to receive the higher rate approx £40 a week more, I found it to be very discrimatory .Having started school and work at the same time as each other . I paid over 30 years contributions to qualify for the full old pension.Only 10 years is needed for the New much higher rate ! ..I contacted my MP and Rishi Sunak but I was completely fobbed off .I would have had no objection to waiting the 3 years to claim my Pension if had qualified for the New 2016 Pension. Good luck #backto60

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    • Thank you so much for all the hard work on our behalf, David. You are very much appreciated by all the 50’s women in all groups. I was born in Sept 1954, and, like most other women, I started work at 15. I have worked most of my life, only stopping to raise my 2 children. (Even then I worked part-time helping to pay rent and put food on the table) I didn’t find out about the pension age rise until I was 57 (my sister-in-law gave me the news) I left my job at 60 due to depression. I am one of the luckier 50’s women as my husband is still alive and living with me. He has looked after me as I have refused to take sickness benefits. I hope we win the case, the last 6years haven’t been easy, only 2 months before I can have the pension I have paid into all my working life! I get so cross when it is referred to as a benefit! Thank you again.

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  13. That is true @Gillian ..1950s born Women were deprived by todays standards back in the 70s/80s..We didn’t have our jobs held open for us ,for months ..There were no lengthy maternity leave or maternity pay .18weeks at most ,6 weeks before due date and 12 weeks after ..No Paternity leave .we were left to get on with it ! We didnt have Child care Vouchers .We didn’t have Child nurseries attached to the Workplace .We didn’t have food banks ..Women were paid lower wages than Men..and finally we were given a £25 grant to pay for nappies and a pram that would have covered it ,back in the 40s ..Oh and yes there were gaps in our employment when we went on to have another Child …and now we have to endure this gross injustice !

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  14. Great result. I have worked for the NHS for years and when I started you had to be in full time employment to enter the pension scheme however ther were no full time positions on district nursing so 12 years lost there without the fact I will be working until I am 66 which is thankfully this year. Your tireless work I hope will pay off soon .

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  15. I hope the Government admit that they have shown discrimination over sex .
    Men born in 1952 are on the New Higher Rate Pension
    Women born on exactly the same date have found themselves on the Old Lower.Rate Pension.
    High Rate approx £175 a week
    Lower Rate approx £125 a week
    But as for qualifying contributions ? ..we won’t go
    there

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  16. We have been totally discriminated against shocking to say we have paind in along with our NI we had no notice to change in our pensions I’m a carer for a elderly mother in law my husband has a diagnostic condition I’ve had to reduce my hours to cope I’m drained should have been able to retire with dignity.
    Thank you David keep the pressure on to support our efforts

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  17. I’m pleased and amazed at this news. Common sense should dictate that 50s-born women should receive the same consideration but common sense is something on which the government has shown itself short. Fingers crossed that the judges on hearing this news show the degree of justice which would render the theft of 50s women’s pensions insupportable.

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  18. Hi David I have listened with great interest for the past 2 days to the court proceedings, can you please tell me when we hope to hear the outcome of the appeal. Thank you for your time and consideration in this case.
    Kind regards
    Linda Craig

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  19. They should refuse the retirement age to 60. This will free up jobs for the younger generation to gain experience in the workplace.
    If you have paid into the old age pension then you are entitled to it.

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    • They should reduce the retirement age to 60.
      This will help the younger generation to gain employment. As we all contribute to our old age pension we all should be entitled to it

      Like

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