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Date: Sat 5 April 2008

UNISON members vote 25 to 1 for new pension scheme

Scotland's largest local government union - UNISON, today announced that its membership conditioned to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) had voted overwhelmingly for a new scheme in a ballot. The union said that over 95% of LGPS members had voted to accept Scottish Government proposals for a new scheme announced in February.

Mike Kirby, UNISON's Scottish Convenor announcing the result at a meeting of the union's Scottish Council in Glasgow today (Saturday) said "We welcome this comprehensive vote of confidence in the new scheme that UNISON has been instrumental in delivering. It is clear from the improvements that have been achieved, that it is possible to maintain, and improve a decent final salary scheme, which is fair to both employers and employees, provides a decent level of pension and is sustainable in overall cost.

"It is an object lesson to those directors in the private sector who shout about the need to cut staff pensions whilst maintaining their own gold-plated pensions, that with fair contributions from both employees and employers, it IS still possible to offer decent pension options, pensions that can be an incentive to attract the valuable staff required to deliver quality public services.

The new scheme retains its final salary element, and improves the accrual rate of members' pensions. Workers' pension contributions increase overall, but a new system means that the lower paid will end up paying less.

The details were negotiated over some months between the trade unions, the employers (represented by CoSLA) and the Scottish Government.

ENDS

Note to editors:

1) The LGPS in Scotland covers over 220,000 working staff across a large variety of employers. In addition to Local Councils, many members work for colleges, universities, the police and fire services, Scottish Water, Careers Scotland, and the community and voluntary sector.

2) The scheme will be introduced across Scotland in April 2009. Key features of the new scheme are:

* retention of a normal retirement age of 65 but with flexibility to work less hours over 65 while taking part pension

* employee contributions increased to an average of 6.3 per cent, but tiered so lower paid staff pay less

* the new LGPS will mirror other schemes in providing 1/60th of final salary for each year in service

* modernised partners' pensions - lump sum death in service grants increase from two to three times final pay and cohabiting partners now able to receive benefits

3) UNISON members voted by 25,008 to 1,121 in a 25% turn out to accept the new scheme.

For Further Information Please Contact: Mike Kirby (Scottish Convenor) 07803 952 261(m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser - Policy) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)

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