Pensions  

Treasury to meet unions over pensions court case

Treasury to meet unions over pensions court case

Officials from HM Treasury and the Trades Union Congress will meet next week to discuss the next steps in the court case about changes in the public-sector pension schemes, FTAdviser can reveal.

Last week the Supreme Court refused the government’s application to appeal the court case into whether changes made to the judges and firefighters pension schemes were discriminatory. This was the last legal hurdle in the dispute.

Officials at Treasury and TUC have regular meetings to discuss strategic issues affecting the public-sector workforce.

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A Treasury spokesperson said last week: “We are disappointed by this decision. The government will now consider how best to compensate those affected by the judgment as part of the court process.

“The judgment does not alter the government’s commitment to public sector pensions that are fair to both workers and tax payers.”

Elizabeth Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, revealed in January that if the government lost it could cost around £4bn a year if extended to all applicable public service pension schemes.

But the final figure won’t definitely be known until the tribunals have determined the precise remedy to be applied.

In March 2015, the defined benefit pension schemes for judges and firefighters were closed, and these people were transferred into a replacement scheme.

Transitional provisions were put in place, which allow older judges and firefighters to remain members of the old schemes, either until retirement or until the end of a period of tapered protection, dependent on their age.

But in a ruling handed out in December, the Court of Appeal said that the government discriminated against the two groups on the grounds of age, race and equal pay in relation to changes to their pension.

According to the Fire Brigades Union, the Supreme Court refused the government’s application to appeal because it did not raise an arguable point of law. In addition, the government has been ordered to pay the costs of the case, it stated.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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