NHS Pensions Agency staff vote for strike action

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) working for the NHS Pensions Agency (NHSPA) in Fleetwood have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over the effects of plans to privatise the agency.

Submitted by Steven. on January 14, 2006

80% of those taking part in the ballot voted in favour of a one day strike on 20 January. The agency which looks after the pensions of approximately 1. 25 million NHS staff is set for privatisation this year without a tender process or any competition. Pointing to the fate of their immediate colleagues who have already moved into the private sector the union fears that there will be job losses, cuts to terms and conditions and that service levels will diminish.

PCS is holding a members meeting for the NHS Pensions Agency (NHSPA) staff at 10am this Friday 13 January at the Social Club, Hesketh House, 200 -220 Broadway, Fleetwood, Lancashire FY7 8LG. The meeting will be addressed by PCS assistant general secretary, Chris Baugh and local MP Joan Humble who will also be listening to staff concerns ahead of her meeting with Minister for Health, Jane Kennedy MP.

Commenting, Joanne Leadbetter PCS Chairperson for the Pensions Agency Branch said: “Interim management are already talking about redundancies even though there has been no bid submitted by the contractor and no identification of how services will be delivered if jobs are cut. Should this go ahead staff are seriously concerned about the detrimental impact this decision would have on their job security and future employment prospects. ”

PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka added: “This overwhelming vote shows the depth of anger and concern about this privatisation. Staff are concerned about their jobs and the standards of the service they work hard to provide. Our experience of these contracts is that they often end up providing a cut rate service for a cut rate price. We are happy to work to achieve better efficiency and service in the administration of the pensions scheme, however we oppose this unjustified proposal because there has been no identification of benefits for members of the NHS Pensions Scheme or of savings to the public purse. ”