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Union rejects NHS pensions offer

The UK’s biggest union, Unite, which includes around a hundred GPs as members, has officially rejected the Government’s offer on NHS pensions and has called for new negotiations with the Government.

As the BMA reveals the final wording on their consultation over industrial action, Unite, which includes the Medical Practitioners’ Union, announced its NHS executive had unanimously rejected the NHS pensions offer.

The union, which represents around 100,000 NHS workers, said the attacks on the NHS pensions were ‘politically motivated’ and it would not support them.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: ‘Our NHS executive unanimously rejects the Government’s pernicious attempts to make hard working and dedicated NHS staff pay more, work longer and get less when they retire.’

‘Unite believes it is important to continue a campaign to maintain a fair and equitable system of public sector pensions and calls on ministers to enter into real, genuine and meaningful negotiations on the future of NHS pensions and public sector pensions.’

The move comes as GPs nationwide are given the chance to give their opinions on the Government’s proposed change to the NHS pension scheme and what industrial action they are prepared to take.

As revealed by Pulse yesterday, the questionnaire, sent to 130,000 BMA members today, asks medical professionals three multiple choice questions including: ‘What is your attitude to the latest proposals for changes to the NHS pension scheme?’ with possible answers ranging from: ‘They are fair and acceptable’ to ‘They should be rejected’.

It also asks: ‘What action would you personally be prepared to take (or support if you are a student) in pursuit of changes to the pension proposals?’ The available answers include: ‘any kind of industrial action, including strike action’; ‘industrial action short of strike action’; ‘I would be unlikely to take any kind of industrial action, but would like to take some action to protest against the changes’ and ‘I would be unlikely to take any form of action at all’.Click here to download the BMA questionnaire

The BMA also asks respondents to outline whether, as a result of the proposals, they are planning to bring forward their retirement age or draw their pension earlier than intended.

BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum, said today: ‘We want doctors and medical students to be fully aware of what’s coming their way, and to have their say on what happens. Everyone will be affected, and it’s up to the whole medical profession to influence what we do next.’

‘Either way, the implications are huge.  We face either major, damaging changes to our pensions, or the first ballot of doctors on industrial action since the seventies’.

The survey is being accompanied by a programme of communications aimed to help doctors and medical students understand the changes.

Click here to download the BMA questionnaire