13 April 2013
As previously reported, the NI Executive, having decided not to apply legislative consent to the Westminster Public Service Pensions Bill, is required to take a separate Bill through the Assembly. Ahead of the publication of the Northern Ireland Bill, DFP issued a consultation document as to the principles to be contained in the Bill.
Here is the NIPSA response to the consultation. This version also includes the appendices to the submission:
NIPSA commentary and assessment of Interim IPSPC Report;
NIPSA submission to the second call for evidence by the IPSPC; and
NIPSA response to Single Tier State Pension Proposals.
The Bill will not be tabled in the Assembly before May, as the intention of the DFP Minister is to replicate in full the Westminster Bill which has yet to pass through its final stages within the House of Commons. When details become available as to the exact timetable for NI Assembly consideration, further circulars will be issued advising members as to how they can become involved in lobbying their MLAs.
In addition to the Assembly process, DFP Officials, along with Officials from other Departments such as DOE (NILGOSC), DHSSPS (Health Superannuation) and Department of Education (Teachers) are engaged with a NIC ICTU Trade Union Group to discuss the proposals. There is considerable concern on the Trade Union Side as to the remit of the group and disagreement has already been registered in respect of the terms of reference. The trade unions are insisting that pensions are a matter for negotiation and not consultation.
The requirement for a separate Northern Ireland Bill provides the opportunity for the trade unions to try and unpick the changes that will be applied in Great Britain to public service pension schemes. The Bill however is an enabling measure and all of the schemes will require secondary regulations to bring forward the specific proposals for the new pension schemes. This will require bi-lateral negotiations in each of the sectors with NIPSA not only taking the lead for NIC ICTU but also in the negotiations in the Civil Service, Health Service and Local Government (NILGOSC) schemes.
Further information will be issued both on the NI Public Service Pensions Bill and on scheme specific proposals.
Assistant General Secretary