Fed poised to strike back on pensions

It says matter has dragged on for ‘far too long’ and caused ‘frustration and anger’ amongst members

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) today announces it is prepared to bring any appropriate legal claims on behalf of its membership if its expectations are not met by the Government following the latest development over pensions.

It follows Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on firefighters’ pensions and a meeting of the Pension Scheme Advisory Board yesterday, which had already been scheduled, and was attended by PFEW, Treasury and Home Office officials.

PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “We are sorry that this whole issue has been mired in uncertainty for so long and are acutely aware of the frustration and anger felt by our hard-working and dedicated members.”

Referring to yesterday’s meeting of policing pensions stakeholders, Mr Apter said: “The Government would not be drawn into what they were going to do next, or how they would be reacting to the Supreme Court judgement. But they said they would release a statement before Parliament’s summer recess begins on 25 July. This statement outlining their position cannot come soon enough.

“If their statement does not meet our expectations, then we are prepared to lodge claims on behalf of our membership. That work has already started.”

The Federation is asking for all protections for its members to be retained until 2022, and that affected members must be levelled up to this position.

Mr Apter said: “We also expect Government to deliver a commitment to dealing with this through an industrial resolution, that is, addressing pensions across the entire public sector. The legal case has been made by the Supreme Court ruling; now is the time for the Government to step up and morally do the right thing.”

He continued: “We accept that although the Federation has always acted in good faith and in line with legal advice received, the way we explained and delivered the decisions we took, and why, were not clear enough. This should have been better. We also recognise the anxiety and frustration it has caused but now is the time to steady the ship to get the best possible outcome for our members.

“Yes these have been divisive times, and rifts have been caused among our 120,000-strong membership. The job is hard enough as it is without turning on each other, but we need to heal those rifts now and work together to achieve what we want.”

Mr Apter added that, for clarity, the Federation had the following expectations from Government:

  • the Government must accept that all transitional arrangements were unlawful, but they must not, while addressing that discrimination, introduce other unfairness to our members
  • the Supreme Court decision applies across the public sector
  • the Government concedes the existing police pensions legal claims
  • they honour the promises made to those nearest retirement, and maintain the arrangements put in place
  • The Government must ensure that all those subject to discrimination are remedied appropriately
  • The remedy must also apply to those who have left the service