Pensions: Another step forward in our fight - important information following employment tribunal remedy hearing


Circular: 2019HOC0664MW

Dear Brother/Sister

PENSIONS: ANOTHER STEP FORWARD IN OUR FIGHT - IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOLLOWING EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL REMEDY HEARING

The Employment Tribunal has now considered our pensions case. This circular provides a summary of the outcome and advice for relevant members on what to do next.

Please note that these matters can be complicated and not every question can be addressed in a single circular. We will be working to provide a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document in due course.

Over the next few days further information will also be issued to FBU brigade officials to assist with individual cases and with the queries which arise from this case.

 

Interim Declaration

The ET has issued an Interim Declaration. This is binding on Fire and Rescue Authorities and means that it addresses immediate issues which arise before a Final Declaration is issued. The Final Declaration will be issued after further hearing in July 2020. The reason the Interim Declaration was needed is that some members are already directly affected by the application of the pensions legal judgement (i.e. that the transitional protection arrangements were found to be discriminatory).

These immediately affected members are:

  1. Members who were members of the 1992 scheme and who are not covered by transitional protection or tapered protection
  2. Those who have been subject to ill-health retirement where the employer has used the 2015 rules rather than the 1992 rules; or members who are imminently approaching this position.
  3. Those who  could have retired by choice under the 1992 regulations, (i.e. who were members of the 1992 scheme, are 50 and have at least 25 years’ service) but have not done so because they have been transferred to the 2015 scheme; or members who are imminently approaching this position.

 

Interim Declaration Meaning

The meaning of the Interim Declaration is that the claimants are entitled to be treated as members of the1992 scheme. This affects the application of the rules relating to ill-health pension and to retirement on grounds of age. The rules of the 1992 scheme must now be applied to them.

This will apply to any claimants who are currently in the process of retiring or who have already been retired on grounds of ill-health since 31 March 2015 using the incorrect rules. It also applies to those who are eligible to retire on grounds of age and length of service and who wish to retire now.

 

Further Issues to be Addressed

The issues raised by our case are complex and further discussions and further hearings will be required to resolve all of them. This is simply the next step along the road. Other issues to be addressed include financial losses, back payment of pensions and compensation for injury to feelings.

The issue of contributions will also need to be addressed. Members should consider budgeting for this now. However the union will seek mechanisms to minimise the impact on individuals. We are proposing that this can be done by periodic payments over the individual’s remaining career or out of any lump sum payable on retirement. (A similar arrangement was negotiated in the case of the RDS modified scheme).

 

Next Steps: What Do I Need to Do?

Please follow the FBU website and circulars closely.

 

  1. Are you an unprotected member of the 1992 scheme? Are you are an immediately affected member due to the following;

 

  1. You have been retired on health grounds under the rules of the 2015 scheme, or are facing this process imminently?
  2. You could retire on grounds of age and length of service under the rules of the 1992 scheme but have not yet done so; or you are approaching this position?

 

In these cases you should contact your FBU local officials and your employer, stating that your circumstances must be addressed under the 1992 rules. FBU officials will be provided with further advice on this.

 

  1. Are you an unprotected member but not immediately affected by factors in 1. above. Please consider the issue of budgeting for pension contributions (please see the section above on this issue).
  2. Are you an unprotected members but did not register as a claimant? Please follow the FBU website. The website will shortly open a section for members to ensure they are covered by the FBU claim. Please note that you will need your membership number to register a claim.

 

There will be further circulars to address this issue. Please follow the circulars, videos and the FBU website to ensure you are kept up to date on these issues.

Yours In Unity

MATT WRACK

General Secretary                                                                                

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