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Call for judicial review of ‘unfair’ NHS pension charges

Millions of NHS workers have been overcharged for pension contributions since 2015, when reforms resulted in age discrimination for some pension members

Millions of NHS workers have been overcharged for pension contributions since 2015, when reforms resulted in age discrimination for some pension members

Trade unions representing nurses and other public sector workers have applied to the High Court for a judicial review of pension changes they say unfairly penalise members of the NHS pension scheme.

The RCN, Unite, the Fire Brigades Union, GMB, Public and Commercial Services Union and POA – the professional union for prison, correctional and secure psychiatric workers – have asked the High Court to force the government to make a cut in employee pension contributions.

Some NHS workers penalised to cover cost of 2015 reforms

They say the government is effectively making some staff bear the

Millions of NHS workers have been overcharged for pension contributions since 2015, when reforms resulted in age discrimination for some pension members

Photo of pay slip focusing on pension contributions
Picture: iStock

Trade unions representing nurses and other public sector workers have applied to the High Court for a judicial review of pension changes they say unfairly penalise members of the NHS pension scheme.

The RCN, Unite, the Fire Brigades Union, GMB, Public and Commercial Services Union and POA – the professional union for prison, correctional and secure psychiatric workers – have asked the High Court to force the government to make a cut in employee pension contributions.

Some NHS workers penalised to cover cost of 2015 reforms

They say the government is effectively making some staff bear the cost of rectifying age discrimination that arose during reforms to public sector pensions in 2015.

RCN trade union committee chair Graham Revie said: ‘We are calling on the government to remedy this situation without unfairly penalising members of the NHS pension scheme. We are fighting for the rights of our members to have the pensions they deserve after years of devoted service to the NHS.’

£17 billion would remedy overpayments

The unions are seeking a judicial review to stop the government making members of the NHS and other public sector schemes share the cost of rectifying age discrimination that result from changes to the pension scheme.

The changes meant older people were allowed to stay on legacy pension schemes, but younger workers were required to join the new schemes brought in under the 2015 reforms.

Since 2015, some 4.1 million people working across the NHS, the civil service and in local government, including nurses, have been overcharged for their pensions, according to figures from trade union GMB. It is estimated the cost of remedying the overpayments is £17 billion.

The money was due to be paid back to workers through a reduction in future pension contributions.

Call for scrutiny of government’s decision on cost-capping

The RCN and other unions are calling for the judicial review to look into the government’s decision not to activate cost-cap mechanisms built into the 2015 pension reforms, which would have ensured a cut in employee pension contributions.

A pause on the cost-cap mechanism, put in place in 2019, was lifted last year, but unions claim public sector workers have still not been paid back.

The Treasury has said it cannot comment on ongoing legal action.


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