Socpo attacks Government backtrack on Tupe pensions

The local government employers
organisation Socpo has criticised Government plans to backtrack on a commitment
to protect the pensions of public sector workers  transferred to private companies.

In September last year trade
and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt promised the TUC conference stronger
pension rights for public sector workers who are switched to commercial
organisations.

But last week a leaked
Whitehall policy document revealed that planned changes to the Tupe
regulations, which protect staff terms and conditions during transfer between
employers, will not include pensions.

Keith Handley, president of
Socpo – the Society of Chief Personnel Officers – is extremely unhappy the
Government appears to have changed its mind on the issue.

He said: “Socpo are totally
against any concept of a Tupe pensions u-turn. I can’t believe that the
Government are backtracking on this fundamental issue.

“I would have thought, given
all the adverse publicity that the Government seem to be collecting these days
on pension issues – end of final salary

schemes, increases in MP
pensions.- that the last thing they would want to do would be to backtrack on
the issue of Tupe and pensions."

John McMullen, national head of
employment law for law firm Pinsent Curtis Biddle, said the Government has no
obligation under the revised acquired rights EU directive that governs Tupe to
include pensions.

“I think the Government has had
a long hard think about the issue. They are running out of time to get the
regulations to comply with the European directive on this.

“They should have implemented
the directive last summer. They may think that the directive does not oblige us
(the UK) to include pension rights and other countries in Europe have not done
it.”

By Ben Willmott

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