Pension scheme deficit announced
We have warned of the possibility that employers in the housing sector will attempt to worsen our pension in a number of recent reports on this website. Inside Housing last week reported that the deficit on the Social Housing Pension Scheme (SHPS) fund has been announced as £1.32 billion, a 32% rise on the last valuation but lower than earlier press reports had suggested. This deficit is based on an assessment of the schemes position last September could result in increased employer contributions which housing associations may seek to pass on to members.
We have produced an important briefing including some simple steps all Unite reps in the sector should be taking now. Download it here
Unite LE1111 Branch secretary Suzanne Muna has commented “Inadequate pensions raise the threat of poverty in old age for our members. This is a highly profitable sector that has been squeezing terms and conditions of its staff in recent years. A further attack on pensions would be unacceptable; we would urge employers to step back from making further attacks on their staff pay and conditions”
We should be seeking to extend the coverage of pensions among staff in the sector. Unite policy on pensions is clear and was reaffirmed at our last policy conference. The union is campaigning for improved pensions and increased flexibility in company schemes.
Unite opposes the closure of final salary and other defined benefit schemes. The union is committed so support and assist Unite groups who seek to resist such closures.
If an employer is proposing a cut in benefits or increased contributions Unite members should be consulted about what action they may want to take including the possibility of industrial action.
Take advice from the union if you need technical back up and keep your regional officer informed. Contact your Unite rep, Unite officer Adam Lambert or the branch Chair Paul Kershaw if changes are proposed.
Also read about access to pensions after April here