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Motion for UNISON Local Government SG Conference 2012

Consulting on LGPS Proposals

This Conference welcomes the completion of the lengthy negotiations on the future of the LGPS and the opportunity for members to now individually and collectively determine their view on the proposals.

Conference endorses the following position agreed by the LG Service Group Executive on 31st May 2012:

“This SGE shares the frustration over delays in being able to commence discussion and consultation over proposals for a revised LGPS.

We reiterate our position that UNISON’s ultimate acceptance or rejection of any proposals will be determined through an individual postal ballot of all affected members. We further reiterate that any recommendation to accompany a ballot must follow consideration by the five Service Group Executives with LGPS members, whose decisions should be informed by the fullest possible advance consultation with members, regions and branches.

We recognise that changes to the LGPS would affect current and future members differently when viewed over short, medium and longer terms, taking account of factors such as age, service, employment status, job security, earnings, career development opportunity, job plans, domestic circumstances and personal choices. Because of this – and the highly complex nature of pensions – it is essential that sufficient time is allowed for the wide range of local government members, branches and Regions to properly consider any proposals before a recommendation is made and a ballot opens.

To ensure the fullest possible participation and representative decision making, this SGE agrees the following consultation process:

1 When consultation can begin, a ballot timetable is set that provides sufficient time for consultation and briefings with members, branches and Regions prior to the SGE’s meeting to consider a recommendation and the
ballot opening.

2 At the earliest opportunity, the proposals are widely publicised to members, branches and Regions through all appropriate forms. Information and presentation materials will be provided and made widely available that include explaining the technical details, a ‘plain language’ guide and worked examples. If possible to produce accurately, we would also like an interactive ready reckoner.

3 A template is provided to branches who will consult as many members as possible, recording how this was done, numbers involved and views expressed in respect of the proposals. Branches will submit the completed template to Regions, and it will also guide representative branch views at Regional briefings.

4 Regional joint Service Group briefings will be held, followed by a meeting of the Regional Local Government Service Group including SGE representatives.

5 A UK joint Service Group briefing will be held to include receiving feedback from all the Regional briefings and the collated Regional branch consultation returns, followed by a meeting of the Local Government SGE to consider a recommendation to accompany the ballot.

This SGE further agrees:

6 To inform the Chairs and Secretaries of the four other relevant Service Groups of this consultation process for their information and own consideration.

7 To publicise this consultation process to members, branches and Regions and include it within the report on the LGPS to Local Government Conference.”

Conference recognises there will be different views amongst activists and members about the final proposals arising from the extensive negotiations.

Some aspects of the proposals represent significant improvements to the current Scheme, but not all our objectives have been achieved, such as the retirement age.

Conference welcomes the proposal for a massive consultation exercise prior to the individual ballot of all eligible members.

Conference agrees that given the complexities it is essential an interactive ready reckoner is made available via the national website and provision be made for individual responses in cases to be responded to nationally where the reckoner is not appropriate to answer queries.

Given the importance of this issue it is right that all members are fully informed before deciding to accept the proposals or to reject them and take significant strike action to seek further improvements.

Conference supports the above process as the basis for an inclusive, thorough and democratic consultation process.

Conference agrees that a recommendation on the proposals should only be made following the widest possible transparent consultation process involving the maximum number of members.

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