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Solihull UNISON Pensions Update: November 2011

Following a “yes” vote in our industrial action ballot, UNISON members are preparing for action on 30 November. If you were balloted you need to make sure you are one of them. Your willingness to take action over your pension has forced ministers back to the negotiating table and UNISON is committed to taking part in meaningful talks about public service pensions. We will now be examining the new proposals in detail and moving into sector specific negotiations. However, unless and until acceptable offers are made, it is important that we keep the pressure on by preparing to take action on 30 November. By doing so we will be standing shoulder to shoulder with other public sector unions to fight for decent pensions. We know that going out on strike is the last thing you want to do, especially when you are faced with a pay freeze and job cuts – but if you care about your future you can’t afford not to. And we know you worry about the people you care for and protect – so our actions will not put lives at risk You should also ask colleagues to join the union and get involved in our campaign.

Together we are stronger. Together we can win.


SOLIHULL UNISON PENSIONS UPDATE NOVEMBER 2011

Strike arrangements in Solihull What you need to do on N30?

Getting ready for N30!

The strike on 30th November needs to be as strong and as effective as possible in Solihull. It is important that you are actively involved in the strike on 30th November in supporting the picket lines and attending the TUC rally in Birmingham later in the day.

UNISON’s General Secretary Dave Prentis has called on all its members who were balloted to take Strike Action on 30th November. For the strike to be successful this requires all of us to act.

As part of a national dispute we need the Government to see the largest possible opposition to their pension proposals and to positively influence the current negotiations. We also need our Employers to see a well organised and well supported strike in Solihull. Solihull UNISON will be working closely with the other Council trade unions striking on that day.

Speak to UNISON to find out about where you can picket

There will be picket lines in workplaces across the Council. We will advise you closer to the 30th where the picket lines will be. On the morning of 30th if you do not have an allocated picket line we would ask you to report to the Council House and Blue Bell centre for 7.30am where you will be directed to a picket line related to your work.

Do talk to other UNISON members and discuss how you can support the strike in your workplace

Encourage other workers in your workplace to join UNISON and to strike on 30th November Become a pensions champion in your workplace and become a point of contact with your UNISON Branch Keep abreast of the LGPS negotiations by checking the national UNISON website for developments @ http://www.unison.org.uk/pensions/lgps.asp

There will be a mass regional rally organised by the TUC on the afternoon of 30th November which we would ask you to attend and support. It will take place at the NIA in Birmingham and will start at 1.30pm. The 30th November will be a historic day and will be the largest national industrial dispute since 1926. Be part of history on Pensions Justice day!

Emergency cover arrangements It is our Employers responsibility to provide appropriate emergency cover. Our employer needs to approach UNISON to make proposals for emergency cover arrangements, these proposals will be considered by Regional Centre. Unless these emergency cover arrangements are discussed and agreed with UNISON Regional Centre we expect all Managers and members to be on strike.


SOLIHULL UNISON NEWSLETTER JUNE 2011 PAGE 3

What’s On!

N30 Strike Day

Join a picket line Report to the Council House and Asda’s Car Park, Pine Square for 7.30am


SOLIHULL UNISON PENSIONS UPDATE NOVEMBER 2011

Frequently asked questions How will my Pension benefits be affected by being on strike? If you are involved in a strike and you are absent from work without your employer’s consent and without pay for one or more whole days, the period of your absence will not count as a period of Scheme membership and, consequently, will not be included in the calculation of your benefit. What can I do to reinstate the period of Scheme membership? Subject to certain conditions, you can reinstate a lost period of Scheme membership if you make a payment of 16% of the pensionable pay you would have received during the period of your unauthorised absence. If you wish to make this payment, you must give written notice to your employer within 30 days of returning to work. Your employer has discretion to extend this period. Extract from West Midlands Pension Fund leaflet Absence owing to a strike

If you need any advice or guidance about N30 please contact us @ Solihull UNISON unison@solihull.gov.uk and by phone on 704 6048 Find us on the web www.solihullunison.co.uk and find our Solihull UNISON Facebook group

Do I have to tell my employer if I am going on strike? No, UNISON has officially informed your employer and they should assume that all members will be striking. It is up to them to ask for any exemptions and to provide emergency cover My employer is saying that a one day strike would be seen as a break in service and that my continuity of service would be broken – is this true? No. During a strike your continuous employment is treated as 'postponed.’ This means that the period you were on strike for, will not count towards your continuous employment, but it does not break the continuity of your period of employment.

Who is exempt from striking? Without exception we expect all UNISON members to be on strike on 30 th November.There are some groups of members who may suffer longer term financial loss from strike action who will be allowed to work normally on the day. These members should apply to the Branch to be exempted, will be provided with a letter of exemption. The affected groups are: • Employees currently in their last year of service with their employer who are members of the Scheme. However, those under threat of redundancy, but without a last day of service will not automatically be exempted. • Pregnant women who have notified their employer of the expected date of birth (unless there is a clear commitment from the employer that the member will not suffer detriment as a result of her taking strike action). • People whose state benefits may be affected if they take part in strike action. Where possible we would ask these members to show their support for the strike by donating a day’s wages to the Hardship fund which will be used to support members who will be striking


Solihull UNISON Pensions Newsletter