Many firefighters are set to receive thousands of pounds in compensation as the government admits members of the '18-20 club’ were short changed and missing two years’ worth of pension contributions, following a successful legal challenge by the FBU.
The '18-20 club' describes a number of members who joined the 1992 Firefighters Pensions Scheme between the ages of 18-20 and ended up paying into the scheme for up to 32 years, only to receive a 30 year pension on retirement. This was because, unlike many other pension plans, the scheme had an accrual cap of 30 years.
Now those firefighters affected are set to be compensated after the Department for Communities and Local Government conceded defeat before the start of a test case hearing, which was due to begin 7 December 2015.
The concession means that serving firefighters who have accrued 30 years’ service will not have to pay any further pension contributions until they reach the age of 50 – a ‘contributions holiday’ if you will. It also means that firefighters who paid these additional contributions since 1 December 2006 and who have since retired will be paid back the contributions they made to their pension at age 48 and 49, plus interest.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “This is a huge victory for the union and for those firefighters who were denied up to two years’ worth of a pension they had made contributions on. As we approach Christmas I know this will be welcome news for many throughout the UK. None of this would have been possible without a strong trade union that fights for its members, this was a case brought solely by the FBU on behalf of its members.”