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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 his home.

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)


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.