Pensions  

Thousands of firefighters to get more generous pensions

Thousands of firefighters to get more generous pensions

An employment tribunal ruled on Wednesday that more than 6,000 firefighters are entitled to return to more generous pre-2015 public sector schemes, following similar decisions for other affected civil servants groups.

The claimants, members of the 1992 and 2006 firefighters’ pension schemes, are now entitled to be treated as if they had remained members of their original pension fund, with benefits including a retirement age of between 50 and 55, the Fire Brigades Union stated.

The government had already agreed a similar interim declaration with other claimants in similar court cases, such as judges, police, and Ministry of Defence members.

The court case relates to a dispute from March 2015, when several public sector pension schemes were closed and the members transferred into a replacement scheme.

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

But in a ruling handed down in December, the Court of Appeal stated the government had discriminated against the two groups on the grounds of age, race and equal pay in relation to changes to their pensions.

In June the Supreme Court refused the government’s application to appeal the court case, which marked the end of the legal process.

In July, the government confirmed the ruling will apply to all public sector schemes, with an initial estimate that remedying the discrimination will add about £4bn a year in liabilities across the board.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Last Christmas, we gave firefighters the gift of a victory in the courts. This year, firefighters can celebrate knowing that their union has secured their rightful retirement – a gift borne of solidarity that proves what unions can achieve.

“The law has now changed and our FBU claimants will be entitled to return to their previous pension schemes.

"Legislation will need to be amended, but there can be no delay in implementing this remedy. Firefighters were robbed, and they must now be repaid.”

The FBU stated it would pursue compensation for injury to feelings and compensation for financial losses for claimants who lost money due to the changes.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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