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General Chat Thread, Unison and other Unions Strike 30/11/2011 in General; Originally Posted by witch No, not many of them. I never got a bonus or shares in my years in ...
  1. #121

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    No, not many of them. I never got a bonus or shares in my years in the private sector and mrwITch has only had the odd bonus from all the companies he has worked for in the private sector for the past 30-odd years
    I know 5 or 6 people in the private sector that get both. And 3 of them have actually got company cars available for private use (it must save them at least 5k per year on not having to buy and run a brand new car).

  2. #122

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    I don't usually focus on collective bargaining for getting myself things. I go and speak to my boss and work through things myself. It has done me well enough so far.
    It's great that you have an approachable boss. I've been lucky enough to have good working relationships with all my current and past bosses too. Like you, I've been able to negotiate for myself.

    Unfortunately there are still unreasonable bosses out there as well, that can put employees lives through hell.
    Last edited by Gardinho; 4th November 2011 at 06:10 PM.

  3. #123

    Gatt's Avatar
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    oooh Strikes - my favourite topic.. well at least this time I wont be hauled in front of an investigatory panel for speaking my mind!
    However, as I haven't read the whole thread yet I'll get back to you on my opinions...

  4. #124

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgardner View Post
    I know 5 or 6 people in the private sector that get both. And 3 of them have actually got company cars available for private use (it must save them at least 5k per year on not having to buy and run a brand new car).
    Actually, these days if you dont do a huge amount of company mileage, you are really clobbered in your tax code and it becomes cheaper to have your own car - or take a smaller 'allowance' and get your own.
    You must know some lucky people, or else they are salemen who often get cars and bonuses. I have had a think around the people I know whose industries vary from IT to shipbuilding, and service industries to retail management, and most do not get a bonus, or if they do, it is very small.

  5. #125

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    Actually, these days if you dont do a huge amount of company mileage, you are really clobbered in your tax code and it becomes cheaper to have your own car - or take a smaller 'allowance' and get your own.
    You must know some lucky people, or else they are salemen who often get cars and bonuses. I have had a think around the people I know whose industries vary from IT to shipbuilding, and service industries to retail management, and most do not get a bonus, or if they do, it is very small.
    Don't forget that company vehicles are nearly always brand new cars worth 20k-ish. Think about the cost of road tax, maintenance, diesel,tyres, servicing, insurance, break down cover. Plus cost of repair should anything go wrong. New car every 3 years.

    I used to work at a local support firm and my tax contributions were negligible compared to how much it costs to run a car.

  6. #126

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    Because I am now doing a heck of a lot more driving to get to regional meetings (down to procurement stuff in the area) I have had my tax code clobbered because I am claiming my mileage. I am not too bad as I have a small, fuel-efficient car ... that has the side effect of making certain members laugh and call it a clown-mobile too ... but it is frustrating. There is no such thing as a company car for me (the scheme has just been dropped by the council, as has the support for essential car users) and even if there was I would be clobbered even more.

    The main issue I have with the changes is that it is only a few folk who will openly say that they are scared that this is the first of many times it will be hit. Any excuse will be used to make further tweaks. I know changes need to be made, but it has the be balanced and limited. The demonisation of the public sector is meaning that so many people are accusing councils and QANGOs of being on the gravy train ... yet the people being hit are those grafting away at the jobs, whether they are nurses, teachers, it support staff, social workers ... people who frequently are in the job because they have a passion for it and want to do a service. It is called public service for a reason.

    One thing I can't understand with the redundancies going on is why we have a multiple tier system for payment of redundancies still. It used to be that there was a strong case to say if you were made redundant after a prrticular age that you had little chance of getting employment due to companies / organisations discriminating against you. Since this is now illegal why should I be treated any different than someone 10 years older? (and this is just theoretical ... in the recent restructuring I have been appointed to a new post ... pretty much the same one but a grade lower) I asked 2 friends who are reasonable high union reps ... and they were fairly open in saying that the people who don't want the change are the unions themselves ... partly because there are a fair number of reps in councils, hospitals, schools, etc who fit into that upper age bracket ... and if they are pushed out they want a nice pay off.

    I don't trust unions much more than politicians (quite a number of which are ex-union anyway) but at least I can have some control over the games the union plays. Pensions is just one example of where we might see a nice package turn up which helps those union members in the upper age bracket and does little for the younger bracket. Why do people think the Govt is offering to protect those close to retirement? Call me cynical, but ...

  7. #127

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  8. #128
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    You know I can’t wait for the system of government as seen in the Starship Troopers franchise to come about

    None of this union rubbish plain and simple as you serve your country (in a military or public service capacity) and get the right to vote.

  9. #129

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    Just going to highlight a few things that seem to have got fuzzy in this thread.

    LGPS is not in deficit. There was a huge sort out about 3 years ago to see the scheme OK for the foreseeable future. It currently is generating a 4bn profit a year. This is visible in the government statements. When they started down this road the LGPS wasn't viable, then reports were coming out thick and fast that it was all rosy so the language was change to LGPS wasn't tenable, or even morally tenable. Even the NHS pension scheme is generating something like a 1bn profit each year. Now before anyone jumps up and down the profit isn't profit, it is used for the scheme, for future years. There is NOTHING wrong with the current pension scheme.

    The strike isn't a UNISON strike. It is a general strike. NUT & ATL will be coming out and many other unions are either balloting or have balloted. Last I heard some of the littler unions that never even ballot have been because of this issue, such as the head civil servants union (can't remember their name). It could well be the biggest action since the 1926 general strike.

    As far as I have seen the offer a couple of days ago wasn't anything radical, it was just an extension on who wouldn't be effected. It was spin by the government so they can say they are still trying but those nasty unions still want to strike. Just look at all the "Unions still preparing for strike with new offer on the table" headlines.

    Again as others have said this all boils down to everyone signed up to a scheme, a scheme that works and is viable. Why should it suddenly be radically changed and leave people in a much worse position just so the government can score some points? We should all be striking to get private and the state pensions to be BETTER not rush to pull ours down to the lowest level.

    Unions are meant to be a collective, coming together. I would agree with those that say if you don't agree with unions or what they do buy insurance or save your contributions for a rainy day. Unions are not really built for people that want themselves to be ok and stuff everyone else. A lot of this is for people in worse financial situations then even school IT people. The changes will especially hit women in the scheme.

    I don't like striking, I don't like the friction it causes & it is a day less pay. I am still hopefully something will be sorted But at some point strongly worded letters don't cut it. Everyone has to work together to protect everyone else.

    My question would be will those in VOICE be accepting any results that occur after striking?

  10. 2 Thanks to TechMonkey:

    CyberNerd (5th November 2011), Gardinho (5th November 2011)

  11. #130

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    My question would be will those in VOICE be accepting any results that occur after striking?
    I've seen this question posed before, but is a major red herring. All government departments run on standardised scales and conditions. As employers, they don't want to know if a few of them don't want certain things - so whether or not people in Voice will accept the results? Irrelevant - they won't have a choice.

    Also, your post is factually incorrect. Reports about the deficit of the LGPS vary between 30-40bn (according to the LGPS themselves) and 100bn according to third party figures. They have a positive cashflow of 4bn at this moment in time, but this should not be considered as 'profit' it just means that right now, the scheme is having more come in than go out, but in the future, there will be problems.

    This issue is mirrored across the various pension schemes.

  12. 2 Thanks to localzuk:

    laserblazer (5th November 2011), witch (5th November 2011)

  13. #131
    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    Bear in mind that each area has its own scheme that forms part of the LGPS. Some schemes may be more bouyant than others.

  14. #132


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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post

    Also, your post is factually incorrect. Reports about the deficit of the LGPS vary between 30-40bn (according to the LGPS themselves) and 100bn according to third party figures. They have a positive cashflow of 4bn at this moment in time, but this should not be considered as 'profit' it just means that right now, the scheme is having more come in than go out, but in the future, there will be problems.

    This issue is mirrored across the various pension schemes.
    It is correct, the figures you are quoting don't take into account the reforms introduced April 2008 and hte fact that the pensions will be linked to Consumer Price Index instead of Retail price index or the fact that the retirement age is going up. With these things in place the scheme is quite viable for the next 20yrs. The important part is that Govt is planning on saving money on the employer contributions, thus reducing our deferred wages.

  15. #133

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    It is correct, the figures you are quoting don't take into account the reforms introduced April 2008 and hte fact that the pensions will be linked to Consumer Price Index instead of Retail price index or the fact that the retirement age is going up. With these things in place the scheme is quite viable for the next 20yrs. The important part is that Govt is planning on saving money on the employer contributions, thus reducing our deferred wages.
    Problem is, the only people saying this are Unison. 10% of councils have looked at their own LGPS schemes since the 2008 review, and have still concluded they're running in deficit. The only people saying they aren't is Unison!

  16. #134


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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Problem is, the only people saying this are Unison. 10% of councils have looked at their own LGPS schemes since the 2008 review, and have still concluded they're running in deficit. The only people saying they aren't is Unison!
    No. The audit commission is an independent authority and says the scheme has a positive cash-flow.
    As I and others keep saying to you - the issue is that they want to drop the employers contributions. This has nothing whatsoever to do with keeping the scheme afloat, it has more to do with destroying it completely.

    their conclusion is:

    Pensions are a major financial issue for local government but do not
    represent an immediate crisis. Pension costs affect how much money is
    available to fund services and can influence council tax levels. This report
    focuses on the affordability of pensions at a time when all services are
    under financial pressure.

    77 The local government pension scheme is, in many ways, in a
    better position than other public sector pensions. It is one of the few public
    sector schemes with a pension fund, and the value of investments has
    recovered since the low point in early 2009. However, current asset levels
    are, on average, about 15 per cent lower than was anticipated at the last
    valuation in 2007. This has led to higher unfunded pension liabilities which
    must be addressed.

    78 There is not an immediate crisis. But, with a background of costs
    gradually increasing and deficit recovery being pushed further into the
    future, there is a need for action at two levels; nationally and locally.

    79 Nationally, the Commission believes that the government
    should consider:

     reviewing employee benefits. For example, a change that would make
    quick savings would be to raise the normal retirement age and reduce
    accrual rates;
     raising employee contributions. The government’s cap and share
    proposals will shift the cost of increased longevity onto employee
    contributions in future, but there is also an argument to increase the
    base contribution rates. Increases could be tapered to reduce the
    impact on low-paid members;
     giving more discretion to local pension funds to adjust benefit
    structures. For example, employers could be allowed to adjust benefits
    and contributions and link different pension benefits to a total reward
    approach. With legal protection for deferred pensions and pension
    transfer values, the case for a uniform national scheme is weaker than
    when the LGPS was designed.

    80 Locally, pension funds can take action to manage their liabilities. But
    this needs to go further than simply adjusting the actuarial assumptions.
    Pension funds need to seek opportunities to improve performance and
    reduce costs in areas such as investment performance and fees rates for
    externally managed investments. Funds should also look at improving skills
    and strategic capacity in pursuit of better, long-term risk-adjusted returns.
    Employers should follow good business practice by ensuring that pension
    costs are minimised and that the benefits of the scheme are used to best
    advantage. In practice, this means controlling wage costs and promotional
    rises, managing early retirements carefully and encouraging flexible
    retirements where these are supported by a good business case. This
    paper and the appendices provide information to inform local discussions.

    81 More radical reform is sometimes attractive in times of crisis, but is not
    likely to serve local government well in the short term. The costs of radical
    changes, such as merging funds or changing the scheme to a permanently
    lower funding basis, might outweigh any benefit. Incremental reform, in the
    way we have outlined here, is the most obvious way to put the LGPS on a
    more secure long-term footing.

  17. #135

    localzuk's Avatar
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    However, current asset levels
    are, on average, about 15 per cent lower than was anticipated at the last
    valuation in 2007. This has led to higher unfunded pension liabilities which
    must be addressed.

    78 There is not an immediate crisis. But, with a background of costs
    gradually increasing and deficit recovery being pushed further into the
    future, there is a need for action at two levels; nationally and locally.


    or example, a change that would make
    quick savings would be to raise the normal retirement age and reduce
    accrual rates;
    raising employee contributions.


    So, your own post says the government should do exactly what they are doing. It says the LGPS has underfunding issues that need addressing but it is not an immediate issue!

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