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					                                     June 2012



                                                                    www.unisondarlington.org.uk

                                                             Pension Ballot
                                                                                         which takes place on 17 & 18 June.
                                                    It’s time to have                    Over 20 emergency motions were
                                                                                         tabled after the proposals were
                                                         your say                        announced. Clearly there is a lot of
                                                  After many months of negotiations talking still to do.
                                                  we finally know the proposals for Northern Region branches were
                                                  the new Local Government Pension briefed on the proposals by
DARLINGTON LOCAL GOVERNMENT BRANCH




                                                  Scheme (LGPS).                         UNISON’s national secretary for
                                                  UNISON is consulting with its l o c a l go v e r n m e n t , H e a t h e r
                                                  branches and members on the plans Wakefield, at a meeting in
                                                  for the new look scheme. Ballot Newcastle on 11 June. Ms
                                                  papers will be issued at the end of Wakefield reported on the progress
                                                  July to every member working in that had been made with the
                                     Locomotion




                                                  local government. It is vital that all negotiations with ministers. The
                                                  members take the few minutes proposals we will be voting on are a
                                                  necessary to vote.                     long way from what the Coalition
                                                                                         were originally after. Significantly
                                                  If adopted the new LGPS would be the much talked of contribution
                                                  introduced in 2014 and would be a increases won’t now happen for
                                                  Career Average Revalued Earnings most members. 90% will pay the
                                                  scheme, as opposed to the current same or less, with only those
                                                  Final Salary.                          earning over £43k paying more.
                                                  However, there would be a series of However, the LGPS retirement age
                                                  protections for existing members.      would be the same as an
                                                  UNISON’s ballot & consultation individual’s State Pension Age.
                                                  period has to end before September.   Our branch will be holding a special
                                                  If members agree to the proposals     meeting on Thursday 12 July @
                                                  and the employers’ also agree then    4:30pm in the Studio, Dolphin
                                                  the government will commence a        Centre, Darlington. All members
                                                  statutory consultation period ahead   are encouraged to attend. It is a
                                                  of bringing in new regulations to     chance for us to discuss the
                                                  implement the new scheme from 1       proposals in detail and see how we
                                                  April 2014.                           will be affected.
                                                  The proposals will be the principal
                                                  talking point at UNISON’s annual More information on LGPS 2014 is
                                                  Local Government Conference on page 2

                                                    UNISON Office, Room 115, Town Hall, Darlington DL1 5QT
                                                                       Telephone (01325) 388270
                                                              Email: unison.darlington@darlington.gov.uk
In a statement issued on 31 May the joint unions & Local Government Association
set the main provisions of the proposed LGPS 2014 as follows:


     A Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) scheme using CPI as the
     revaluation factor (the current scheme is a final salary scheme)
     The accrual rate would be 1/49th (the current scheme is 1/60th)
     There would be no normal scheme pension age, instead each member’s
     Normal Pension Age (NPA) would be their State Pension Age (the current
     scheme has an NPA of 65)
     Average member contributions to the scheme would be 6.5% (same as
     the current scheme) with the rate determined on actual pay (the current
     scheme determines part-time contribution rates on full time equivalent
     pay)
     While there would be no change to average member contributions, the
     lowest paid would pay the dame or less and the highest pay would pay
     higher contributions on a more progressive scale after tax relief
     Members who have already or are considering opting out of the scheme
     could instead elect to pay half contributions for half the pension, while
     still retaining the full value of other benefits. This is known as the 50/50
     option (the current scheme has no such flexible option)
     For current scheme members, benefits for service prior to 1st April are
     protected, including remaining ‘Rule of 85’ protection. Protected past
     service continues to be based on final salary and current NPA
     Where scheme members are outsourced they will be able to stay in the
     scheme on first and subsequent transfers (currently this is a choice for
     the new employer)


All other terms remain as in the current scheme. For further details go to the
UNISON website
                  http://www.unison.org.uk/pensions/lgps.asp




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                    Branch Officers 2012
Below is the list of people elected as Branch Officers at the Annual General
Meeting in February.
The posts of Young Members Officer and International Officer remain vacant.
Anyone interested should contact the Branch Secretary, Joe White, on (01325)
388270

Chairperson:                                Helen Winterburn
Branch Secretary:                           Joe White
Treasurer:                                  Anthony Hall
Assistant Branch Secretary:                 Dawn Taylor
Vice Chair:                                 Bob Wood
Health & Safety Officer:                    Chris Robinson
Women’s Officer:                            Helen Winterburn
Publicity Officer:                          Bob Wood
Communications Officer:                     Graeme Farrer
Equalities Officer:                         Anthony Hall
Membership Officer:                         Mark Jenkins
Labour Link Officer:                        Phillippa Scrafton
Welfare Officer:                            Yvonne Wood
Disabled Members Officer:                   Helen Winterburn
Lifelong Learning Officer:                  Rose Gallagher
LGBT Officer:                               Phillippa Scrafton
Retired Members Officer:                    Tony Cooke
Auditors:                                   Paul Robinson / Joan Curran


                                Let us know...
If you move house, change jobs or are going to leave please inform the Branch
Office. If we are going to provide the best possible service to our members we
need accurate membership records.
Remember, if you don’t tell us, we don’t know so please keep in touch by ringing
the office on (01325) 388270, e-mail unison.darlington@darlington.gov.uk or
pop in to Room 115, Town Hall, Darlington.

                                        3
                     Double Dip Dave Does It Again

                        Spending cuts, double dip recession and mass
                        unemployment are some of the achievements of this
                        government and women are at the front of these hits
                        from all the cuts they are slashing to the bone.
                        Gendered cuts to child tax credits, child benefit and
                        pension income tax benefits all hit us hard: we are
                        more likely to be the beneficiaries and users of public
                        services and employees in the public sector, that’s
                        before even more redundancies forecast as 710,000 by
                        2015. How are we all in this together?
                        Destroying the Public Sector is not the answer,
downsizing the Welfare State will only push more families into poverty, relying
on food banks and charities to help feed and clothe their kids, reducing their
hours at work or even leaving employment as they have carers responsibilities.
Why should we plug the gaps in services and say goodbye to our careers
because the local Surestart centre has closed or the privatised NHS won’t
provide assistance to our elderly parents. Why should we suffer to let their
big business mates step in and take our services.
Women earn less, own less and are more likely to work and retire in poverty
than men-how is this fair Dave?
If you want to get involved with these issues come along to the UNISON
Women’s Network meetings -it’s a friendly atmosphere and welcoming to all.

For further details of the Women’s Network contact Branch Chairperson,
Helen Winterburn via email helen.winterburn@darlington.gov.uk




                   Branch Pensions Meeting
             The Studio, Dolphin Centre, Darlington
                  Thursday 12 July @ 4:30pm
  Come and discuss the plans for your Local Government Pension Scheme
 All members are welcome to attend. Buffet / refreshments will be available
                              from 4:00pm
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                           Asbestos in Schools

                  Branch holds seminar on national scandal

Since the 1960s government has been aware of the dangers of asbestos in our
schools, and other buildings. In 1967 the Head Medical Inspectorate of
Factories told the Dept for Education “The more I see of asbestos the more I
dislike it...My advisory panel on the hazards of asbestos have suggested that
wherever practicable, exposure to asbestos should be restricted to persons of
40 years or over.”
However, decades later—it’s still there. Obviously the threat not only affects
pupils, but also school staff many of whom will spend their whole careers in
buildings with asbestos. Government policy has remained to manage, rather than
remove, asbestos.
The branch recently played host to a seminar on the subject. Guest speaker
was Julie Winn of Morrish solicitors, a leading member of the campaign group
Asbestos in Schools. She highlighted the dangers, particularly the risk of
mesothelioma, a fatal disease which can be caused by low level exposure. The
British mesothelioma death-rate is the highest in the world.
Asbestos can deteriorate with age, fair wear and tear, vandalism, boisterous
behaviour, water damage and by maintenance and building work. Fibres cannot
be seen by the naked eye.
Asbestos in Schools objectives are:
    National audit of our schools & the standard of asbestos management
    Specific school guidance
    Assessment of the risk, particularly for children
    Asbestos identified & a phased programme to remove the asbestos in the
    most dangerous condition
    Training for all including governors, head teachers, caretakers & all staff
    in schools
The seminar gave us a great insight into the dangers which still face our
members in schools. We will need to keep up the campaign & ensure that all
schools take responsibility for those working on their premises.


One disappointment about the seminar was the attendance. Despite the best
efforts of Branch Assistant, Lily Baister, who sent out over 500 individual
letters to members the turnout was extremely poor.


                                       5
                        Out and About
                          Workers Memorial Day

Once again the Branch was represented at the Workers Memorial Day service
in Hartlepool. Purple ribbons were sold in aid of the Great North Air
Ambulance, which raised £54.

                            Durham Miners Gala

The “Big Meeting” takes place on Saturday 14 July. Thousands of trade
unionists and their families march to Durham’s Racecourse Ground. While some
listen to the speeches, others head for the fairground, stalls and other
attractions.
We are proud that our branch banner is a regular attendee at the Gala. We
meet at Redhills at about 08:30 for the march. All members and their families
are very welcome to march with (and help carry) our banner. The Branch pays
travel expenses to those who help with the banner.
Why not put the date in your diary & come along? It’s a great, friendly day out
for all the family. If you plan to join us contact Bob Wood on (01325) 388749
for further details.

          No to Austerity
             20 October

            UNISON is taking part in
            a national TUC demo on 20
            October.
              Across Europe the folly of
              drastic austerity measures
              is becoming obvious. We
will be taking part in the London demo
and rally to protest at the Coalition’s
cuts programme.
Further details will follow—keep an eye
on the Branch website.
Have a day out with us in London &
make your voice heard.



                                           6
                 Sports and Social News
Cricket News
The UNISON cricket team played their first game of
the season on 16 May at Middleton St George CC.
Opponents A-One were able to amass a total of
154-9. In reply UNISON were bowled out for 78. The
score does not reflect the valiant effort from the whole
team and there were many plus points to take forward
into the season. The next game is against Petch’s on
21 June, once again at Middleton St George. Anyone
interested should contact Paul Sunter on 388526.




                                 Social Events
The Branch has decided to arrange a number of social events during 2012. A
programme is being drawn up for the year leading up to our traditionally panto trip to
the Civic Theatre.
The first event is 10 Pin Bowling in June. Closing date for this was 18 May and there
is good interest for that.


The next event is:


                                  Ripon Races
                         Saturday 21 July 2012
                               Cost is £10 for members / retired members of
                               UNISON Darlington Local Government Branch.
                               £20 for non-members.


                               Bus will depart from the stop opposite the Town
                               Hall, Feethams at 12 noon, returning straight
                               after the last race.

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis so to book yours
e-mail unison.Darlington@darlington.gov.uk by Thursday 28 June.



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