1 November 2013
TO: Â Â ALL MEMBERS
PENSION DISPUTE:Â CORRESPONDENCE AND UPDATE
Members will be aware that various discussions have taken place over the past two weeks with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and Fire and Rescue Service National Employers.
Links to letters received from Brandon Lewis and the employers, as well as our replies, can be found at the bottom of this circular. In addition, a summary of the key arguments is below.
Who is responsible?
The DCLG has argued repeatedly that this dispute is between the FBU and the employers, rather than between us and themselves. We have argued consistently that this is not the case.
Clearly, the employers must be involved in overcoming some fitness and capability issues, but to fully resolve the â€˜no job, no pensionâ€™ issue, the national regulations governing â€˜employer-initiated retirementâ€™ must be changed.Â A change to the national framework document is not enough.Â This responsibility therefore lies with government.
We have attempted to explain why this change is necessary and provided a draft regulation for discussion, but unfortunately so far, the DCLG has not been willing to consider it.
The union has been taking legal advice to assist in this aspect of our discussions.
Who has walked away?
The DCLG has also claimed that the FBU walked away from the negotiating table.Â However, we remain totally committed to talks.Â Our offer to take up talks again this week was not taken up.
Has there been a written guarantee over â€˜no jobs, no pensionâ€™?
The DCLG has said publicly that the national employers have provided a written guarantee that addresses the â€˜no job, no pensionâ€™ issue. Â However, the employers have said they can offer no guarantee. They have also said that they are not willing to provide such a guarantee, and will retain the right to consider whether or not to allow an individual to receive an unreduced pension if they cannot regain the fitness levels required beyond age 55.
Is â€˜no job, no pensionâ€™ the only issue?
We have also reminded the government that the â€˜no job, no pensionâ€™ issue is just one of the eight issues registered in our trade dispute letter.
Itâ€™s worth remembering that while discussions continue, the government is continuing with plans to further increase contributions and to make the scheme more unaffordable.
All this correspondence is on the FBU website.Â Members are asked to follow these developments closely as discussions develop.
- 23 October letter from Brandon Lewis
- Our reply
- 25 October letter from the employers
- Our reply
- 25 October Letter from Brandon Lewis
- Our reply