Pension gripes are a year too late
Saturday 26th January 2013, 2:30PM GMT.
A STATEMENT yesterday from the Association of States Employee Organisations on pension reforms was notable for who, or more importantly who didn’t, sign it off.
You would expect a statement of that importance – demanding negotiations ‘begin’ more than a year after they actually started – would have been issued by the man at the top.
But while Prospect and Unite have dismissed as unacceptable proposals released by the joint working group on pensions, the chairman of ASEO finds himself in an unenviable position.
He was among the seven-man working group that agreed the new scheme and went on record saying the proposed deal was the best employees could have hoped for.
Since then, he has faced a backlash from union colleagues unhappy with the negotiated changes and demanding negotiations start again.
Is that likely? About as likely as the private sector reintroducing final salary pensions.
Do other union officials have a right to feel aggrieved? No, they were all part of it.
The ASEO exists to represent the interests of 12 unions active in Guernsey.
Its chairman, along with another member, was on the working group – they also brought in a pensions expert from Prospect to form the employee negotiating ‘team’.
By all accounts they battled tooth and nail with the employer’s side, gaining several victories along the way.
They did what they were supposed to do, representing the interests of the near 5,000 staff who make up the various unions of the ASEO.
But now they’re now in a tough spot, with union colleagues staging a virtual coup because the result didn’t go the way an out-of-touch section of the public sector wanted (anything other than the status quo was unacceptable).
Islanders are wise to tactics employed by union officials and would have been none too impressed by the immediate threats of industrial action.
Tweaks could still be made to the new scheme if the Pensions Consultative Committee, which includes five union officials, backs down – but deputies will have the final say.
Unions angry at the process are a year too late to the party.