Tuesday, 6 March 2012

SAUL consultation - deadline this Friday!

If you are a member of the SAUL pension scheme, you probably know that currently changes are being proposed to the scheme, and it’s in the consultation period at the moment.

Please try and respond to the consultation as the bigger the response, the more attention SAUL will have to pay to our views.

Some of the concerns Unison negotiators have raised, and which you might want to consider in your response to the consultation, include:

-          The change to a CARE (career average) scheme for new entrants to the pension, as opposed to the final salary scheme that current members have. Although this will not affect current members of the scheme, the move to a two-tier system is bad news for everyone and means that anyone joining the scheme from July will have a worse pension than those already in the scheme.

-          The change to a career average scheme will also affect anyone leaving SAUL and rejoining more than 30 months later.

-          For current members who want to retire before 65, any benefits they build up after 1 July 2012 will be reduced if they retire before 65.

-          Increases to your SAUL pension are already linked to increases in the Consumer Prices Index, a measure of inflation generally agreed to rise more slowly than the Retail Prices Index. However, even though this change has already happened, SAUL are proposing that benefits built up from 1 July 2012 are linked to the CPI but capped. That means that if inflation were to rise to 11%, your pension entitlements would only increase by 8%.

-          We are being asked to agree to changes to SAUL without having seen an independent audit of the scheme. SAUL members might want to request that an independent audit is made of the scheme by actuaries appointed by the trade unions, showing exactly what the funding situation is, before changes are proposed. This is particularly important as in the 1990s the employers took a 46-month contributions holiday where they paid nothing into the scheme, counting on the rise in investments to cover their contributions.

-          Currently, due to the global financial crisis, the value of investments are at an all-time low. If there was an economic upturn, it might be that SAUL’s funding situation might improve considerably. This is another issue that an independent audit might examine.

-          New members of SAUL who are made redundant late in their careers will not be able to take early retirement, as if they take their pensions before age 65 they will receive a reduced pension.

The consultation ends at midnight on Friday 9th March. You can respond to the consultation online at

http://www.saul.org.uk/changes.html The password is myviews.

You can find details of the consultation procedure here: http://www.saul.org.uk/pdfs/employer_consultation.pdf and of the proposed changes here: http://www.saul.org.uk/changes.html  

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