BMA to step up pensions fight for GPs

The BMA has said it will make its members' concerns over pensions' absolutely clear' during discussions with the government.

In his letter Mr Lansley expressed concerns that reaching a ‘negotiated agreement’ between health unions and the government would be difficult.
In his letter Mr Lansley expressed concerns that reaching a ‘negotiated agreement’ between health unions and the government would be difficult.

The BMA agreed with health secretary Andrew Lansley’s criticisms of public sector pension reforms made in a private letter to Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury.

A BMA spokesperson said: ‘The health secretary was right to describe the proposals as inappropriate and unrealistic.’

In the letter, Mr Lansley expressed concerns that reaching a ‘negotiated agreement’ between health unions and the government would be difficult.

The BMA confirmed that these concerns were not unfounded.

‘Clearly when a proposal is so unfair to NHS workers, reaching an agreement with the unions is going to be difficult at the very least,’ a BMA spokesperson said.

The news comes following a statement from the Treasury that pension contributions for top earners could increase by up to 6%, leaving GPs potentially paying 14.5% in contributions.

The government will hold scheme-by-scheme discussions with public sector unions to discuss the reforms.

Discussions between the BMA and the government are likely to begin once a contribution consultation document is released, the BMA said.

The DoH document, which is expected to be released this week, will make clear what the proposed increase in pension contributions will be.  

It will be ‘a starting point for discussions,’ a BMA spokesperson said.

‘We’ll certainly be making it absolutely clear that the size of the contributions increase facing our members – for a worse pension – is unfair and unacceptable,’ a BMA spokesperson said.

At the BMA Annual Representative Meeting, delegates voted in favour of a motion which called for the union to ballot members on industrial action, if the government decided to scrap final salary pensions.

The BMA said it could now not rule out the possibility of balloting members.

‘Further action, including industrial action remains a possibility further on down the line, especially following the vote at the ARM, but it’s definitely not our preferred option,’ a BMA spokesperson said.

  • Are you worried about pensions? Book a place at GP's pension conference in London on 15 September to find out how the changes will affect you.

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