Unions back reform - but MHK questions their motives

Alfred Cannan, the MHK for Michael

Alfred Cannan, the MHK for Michael

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Trade unions are backing proposed public sector pension reforms.

But a backbench MHK says he is ‘deeply concerned’ that Tynwald should not be rushed into making changes by those with ‘questionable motivations’.

Alfred Cannan (Michael) points out that the reforms will commit the taxpayer to millions of pounds of extra funding, which could impact on services in the future - and it would be a mistake to vote them through in the final weeks of the current administration.

The Public Sector Pensions Authority is inviting anyone interested in the future of public sector pensions to attend an open meeting tonight in the Manx Museum Lecture Theatre in Douglas, starting at 7.30pm, with doors open from 7pm.

In a joint statement, unions including Unite and the Royal College of Nursing said they were supporting the PSPA’s proposed reforms which will now be debated at next month’s Tynwald sitting, having been postponed last month following concerns of backbenchers.

It reads: ‘The trade unions realised they had an obligation to move forwards and to discuss change, they indicated to their respective members that unfortunately future service would have to cost more and that workers would have to work longer and receive less than previously agreed.’

But Mr Cannan said: ‘I am deeply concerned that the pressure being exerted by the BMA and others to accept the latest pension proposals will result in a scheme that commits the taxpayer to finding many millions of pounds of additional funding being forced through without justification. Their approach is not helpful.

‘A strong argument is emerging that it is not right for a government in its final weeks to commit its successors to these significant spending commitments. It is critical that we reach a manageable solution for all parties and we should not be rushed through this process by those with questionable motivations.’

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