LGPS Pension Update August 2017

Our fund continues to gain value and is now worth £2.2Bn! Overall, the LGPS in the UK is in fine form with over 5.3M members; and 14,000 separate employers in 2016. Also, the scheme remains in a positive cash-flow position when investment income is included. And the total assets of all the LGPS funds remains at £217bn, which makes it the largest pension fund in England and Wales and the third largest in Europe.

So a big ‘well done’ to our previous LGPS Pension Committee members and a hearty ‘welcome’ to our new committee who have made an excellent start in looking after our funds and exercising their duties. The Pension Committee is almost entirely new with Councillor Kevin Bulmer as its new chairman and Counciller Ian Corkin as the deputy chairman.

The new committee started their tenure with an immediate training session that began with their roles and responsibilities and a great deal of discussion about their fiduciary duties. There was also much discussion and plenty of support to ensure that ethical and political considerations are fully considered when making investment decisions. This includes a full discussion over the merits in investing in fossil fuels and the implications for our carbon footprint and any effects on climate change.

Pool Funds (Project Brunel). The Brunel Pension Partnership (BPP) Ltd was formally created at a meeting in Bristol on 18 July as each of the founding funds signed the Shareholders agreement to establish the company. Just as a reminder the BPP is one of eight national pooled funds, and will oversee the investment of the pension assets for the Avon, Buckinghamshire. Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Environment Agency, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, and Wiltshire Funds.

There is still much to do to get the BPP ready to start trading on 1 April 2018 as buildings; IT; and administrative arrangements all have to be set up. One milestone has been met, but there are still quite a few to go before BPP can start trading.

LGPS Administration. The administration of our LGPS is now conducted from:

Pension Services, Oxfordshire Pension Fund, 4640 Kingsgate, Cascade Way, Oxford Business Park South, Oxford OX4 2SU

Please phone to make an appointment on: 03300 241 359

Pension Statements. Your new yearly pension statement should be arriving with you over the month of August, happy reading!

Philip Wilde

Observer to the Pensions Committee

2017, Branch news, LGPS, Local Government, Membership benefits, Pensions , , , ,

UNISON Oxfordshire Rest Break Survey For Members

Do you get regular scheduled rest breaks?  Are you able to leave the premises or are you expected to be ‘on call’ at all times?  Are you aware of your rights under Working Time Regulations 1998 (UK Law that implements the EU Working Time Directive) for rest breaks and other entitlements?

The core rights that the Working Time Regulations provide are:

  • Paid annual leave of 28 days per year; 
  • A 48-hour limit on the average working week; 
  • A continuous 11 hours rest in every 24-hour period; 
  • A continuous 24 hours rest in every week; 
  • A 20 minute rest break in every work period over six hours; 
  • An eight-hour limit on average working hours in a 24-hour period for night workers; 
  • Free health assessments for night workers

Are you getting all of your entitlements here? There is strong evidence to suggest that these rights and obligations are not always being provided or fulfilled and we would like to find out more information as to whether or not this is the case in Oxfordshire, how widespread it may be and how we can support members both individually and collectively.

In the cases of those in positions where their job might be considered part of the continuity of care (ie in the health/care sector and certain aspects of home care) there is provision for what is called “Compensatory Rest” and if you don’t get your breaks on shift then you should be receiving this which mandates for.

“Compensatory rest is allowed when a worker has to work through a rest period. The employee is entitled to take the rest when possible, ideally on the same day. The regulations suggest that, as long as a worker receives at least 90 hours’ rest per week on average, then the rest obligations are being met.”  [ACAS Guidelines 2013]

Our survey can be accessed here, it is 10 short multiple choice questions and should not take any more than about 5 minutes.  It is anonymous and you will not be asked for specific details about yourself, only the type of workplace and the patterns of work.

If you have any questions or feedback regarding the survey then please feel free to contact us at the branch office or you can leave a comment below on this post.

2017, Black And Minority Ethnic Members, campaigns, Employment Rights, Health and safety, LGBT, Local Government, Low Paid Members, Private & Voluntary Sector, Women Members, Young Members , , , , , , , , , , ,

Memorial To 31 Oxfordshire Volunteers Of The International Brigade

Memorial to the 31 Oxfordshire volunteers of the International Brigade who went to Spain 1936 -1939 to defend democracy and freedom

SATURDAY 10 JUNE 2017 12:00 NOON – St Clements, Oxford. Junction of Headington Hill and Morrell Ave.

Richard Baxell: Chair International Brigade Memorial Trust
Carmen Negrin: Grand-daughter of the last Prime Minister of the Spanish Republic
Neil Gore: Writer and actor reads “The Volunteer” by C Day-Lewis
Cllr Christine Simm: Deputy Lord Mayor of Oxford unveils the memorial

Do please feel free to bring floral tributes if you wish. Trade Union bouquets stc especially welcome. Also, do please come to the panel discussion on Friday 9th June at 7:30 at the Friends Meeting House, Oxford (details below) and ….

On the evening before the unveiling we are holding a public meeting at the Friends’ Meeting House, St Giles, Oxford City Centre, at 8:00pm (doors open at 7:30). The list of celebrated speakers include Professor Paul Preston, author of “The Last Days of the Spanish Republic” and “The Spanish Holocaust”; Richard Baxell, Chair of the International Brigade Memorial Trust and author of “Unlikely Warriors”; Professor Valentine Cunningham, Emeritus Professor at Corpus Christi, Oxford, and editor of “The Penguin Book of Spanish Civil War Verse”; and Carmen Negrin, grand-daughter of Juan Negrin, the last prime minister of the Spanish Republic.

Tickets for the Public Meeting on 9th June at 8:00pm are £5 on the door or £4 in advance from John Haywood, 1 Queens Close, Banbury OX16 0EB by cheque payable to IBMT with SAE please. You can email John at ajhaywood92@gmail.com to reserve on-the-door tickets or you can telephone 07785 235715.

We will celebrate on the evening of the unveiling with a concert with a star studded cast of performers at the West Oxford Community Centre on the Botley Road, Oxford, just five minutes walk from the railway station. Folk group Na-Mara whose singer songwriter Paul McNamara has long associations with Spain, the Camino del Flamenco Spanish dance group, Oxford’s very own Cuban/Latin American Ran Kan Kan who are guaranteed to “raise the roof” and inspire us all, as well a reading of La Pasionaria’s iconic farewell speech to the International Brigades in Barcelona on 1st November 1938.

MUSIC FROM 7:45 TO 11:30 WITH BAR OPEN FROM 7:00PM Tickets for the concert on 10th June are priced £20 at the door, or £15 if before 5th June, again from John Haywood, 1 Queens Road, Banbury, OX16 0EB by cheque payable to IBMT with SAE please. Or you can reserve tickets at on-the door prices by email to John at ajhaywood92@gmail.com or you can telephone 07785 235715.

2017, Events, Local news, Oxford , , , ,

Gender Pay Gap Reporting ACAS Guidance

There is now a much greater emphasis on employers proving that there is not a gender pay gap in their workplaces and the scope has been expanded to include the whole organisation.

Below are some questions ACAS have put together and UNISON will be looking at employers and their reports over the coming months. UNISON Oxfordshire County would like to hear from you as to how you feel your employer is addressing the new legislation and whether you have concerns about unequal pay. Get in touch with us via email/phone or leave a comment on this post.

ACAS Top 10 Myths on Gender Pay Gap Reporting

MYTH: We did an equal pay audit a while ago so we’re fine
FACT: Equal Pay deals with comparing one job with another – the gender pay gap is about the difference in gender pay across a whole organisation.

MYTH: I only have a few female employees, I won’t make a difference
FACT: Every employee matters. And, chances are you might be in a business where women are underrepresented and you’re losing out on a massive talent pool.

MYTH: There’s not much of a gender pay gap these days is there?
FACT: Over time, things have improved but there is more to do – for example the Office for National Statistics has revealed that male financial managers and directors still earn 32.4% more than women in the same occupation.

MYTH: It’s always women who receive less money than men
FACT: Whilst it’s often the case that on average women earn less money than men in many workplaces, sometimes it can be men – pay gap reporting can help here too.

MYTH: It’s going to cost lots of money to get rid of my gender pay gap
FACT: Many changes involve addressing attitudes and practices rather than your bank balance – and some will save you money whilst improving staff retention.

MYTH: Does this mean I can’t reward talented staff for hard work any more?
FACT: Things like qualifications, outstanding achievements and a certain amount of relevant experience may be proper business reasons to reward people – but an employee’s gender isn’t one of them.

MYTH: These figures are just going to embarrass me
FACT: You’re probably more worried than you need to be. The important thing is to develop an action plan informed by the facts and provide a narrative, then post it.

MYTH: I need to be a maths genius to understand this stuff
FACT: There’s a bit to learn up front, but it really is about gathering your information and carrying out basic calculations using standard computer software – you might even have payroll software (or an amazing stats-loving employee) to help.

MYTH: There’s no business advantage to this at all
FACT: Global consultancy McKinsey estimates that bridging the UK gender gap in work has the potential to create an extra £150 billion on top of 2025 business-as-usual GDP forecasts.

MYTH: This is a lot of extra work – we already have an equality action plan
FACT: If you have an equality plan or similar, that’s great – build gender pay actions into it, but just remember to have the calculations clearly published on your website.

2017, Branch news, Low Paid Members, Private & Voluntary Sector, Women, Women Members , , , , ,

UNISON SE Region Equality Conference 2017

Registration form can be found here and should be sent to the branch office.

2017, Black And Minority Ethnic Members, Disabled Members, Equality, Events, LGBT, South East Region, UNISON, UNISON SE Region, Women Members , , , , , , , , ,