Date: Tues 22 Jan 2008
UNISON anger as botched contract costs staff thousands of pounds
in pension rights
UNISON today accused Transport Scotland of botching a contract
for the Traffic Scotland transport information system, leaving key
staff losing thousands of pounds in pension rights.
The union's Glasgow City Council branch wants immediate guaranteed
protection for members, saying that existing guidance and protocols
covering such transfers stipulate that new pensions should match
existing pension provision.
Regional Organiser Mandy McDowall said: "We hope that Transport
Minister Stewart Stevenson will step in to ensure this is resolved.
If he doesn't, it is a disgrace that he will be presiding over such
shabby treatment of public sector staff when even under Conservative
minister Michael Forsyth pensions were protected in a similar transfer."
Around twenty staff are due to transfer this weekend from Glasgow
City Council, which used to hold the contract for the service, formerly
known as NADICS. Most will transfer to new contractor WS Atkins,
with managers moving to Transport Scotland and others moving to
SERCO, which holds an IT part of the contract and to Amey, which
holds another part of it.
Regional Organiser Mandy McDowall said: "We have been pressing
Transport Scotland and the Transport Minister on this since early
December and would prefer a negotiated resolution but will have
no option but to consider legal action if they do not urgently sort
this out to our satisfaction.
"Transport Scotland is acting on behalf of ministers. I would have
fully have expected them to have considered all the appropriate
guidance and protocols covering the transfer of public sector workers.
If these were Transport Scotland employees transferring they would
not have been treated so shabbily."
One member Ralph Kelly has 28 years service, yet is expected to
move to a WS Atkins scheme which has not been certified as comparable.
Ralph is so worried at the financial impact he is looking at selling
Most other members have been with Strathclyde Pension Fund (SPF)
for many years and could lose out significantly too. UNISON's position
is that all staff should be entitled to comparable pensions or for
their new employer to have admitted body status to the SPF. However,
this was not written into the Traffic Scotland contract.
Chris Stephens, Land and Environmental Services Convener, said:
"Feelings are running very high. This is the first bulk transfer/contract
that we are aware of from the council where admitted body status
was not sought by the new employers."
For further information please contact: Chris Stephens,
Land & Environmental Services Convener, on 07818 487060 (m) Mandy
McDowall, Regional Organiser, on 07903 846427 (m) Dave Watson, Scottish
Organiser, on 07958 122409 (m)
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. Ralph Kelly is available for interview. To arrange this, please
telephone one of the contacts at the end of the press release 2
. UNISON was not consulted about this until October, after the
contracts had been awarded.
3. UNISON argues that protocols covering Public Private Partnerships
over staff transfers and Cabinet Office Guidance on staff pensions
apply to this situation, on top of TUPE regulations.
4. The NHS Building Division was outsourced by the last Conservative
Government to WS Atkins. The contract required a GAD (Government
Actuarial Department) certified comparable pension scheme.