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Date: 16 April 2012

UNISON supports annulment call on changes to NHS pension scheme

UNISON has voiced its support for an annulment of the NHS pension amendment regulations, which will be moved at the Scottish Parliament today (Tuesday).

At a meeting of the Health and Sport Committee in Edinburgh, Drew Smith MSP will call for the regulations to be annulled, leading to a debate among the MSPs.

The proposed changes outlined in the regulations include a year one increase to employee contributions of up to 2.4 per cent – effectively a pension tax on health workers.

There is no need for the increase as the NHS pension scheme across the UK is in surplus, and not one penny of this increase will go to the pension scheme.

The Scottish Government has said it is opposed in principle to these contribution increases, but it plans to implement them regardless.

Tam Waterson, chair of UNISON’s Scottish Health Committee, said: “The Scottish Government has the responsibility to address these issues in Scotland, so they have a duty to fully explore a Scottish solution for health workers.

“We welcome this call for an annulment of the regulations and would urge MSPs to put a halt on proposed changes until sufficient time has been given for negotiation and to look at alternative solutions.

“MSPs have to realise that asking hard-pressed NHS workers who cannot afford to contribute more to their pension at a time of pay restraint just doesn’t make sense.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. The motion to annul the National Health Service (Superannuation Scheme and Pension Scheme) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2012 will be laid in front of the Health and Sport Committee meeting at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh today (Tuesday, April 17).

2. UNISON, Scotland’s largest health union representing NHS staff, is calling on the Scottish Parliament to reject these regulations.

For more information please see our briefing at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/MSPBriefing_NHSPensionsRegs_March2012.pdf

3. For more information contact: · Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, on 07958 122 409. · Trisha Hamilton, UNISON’s Communications Officer, on 0141 342 2877 or 07939 478 461.

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