The options exercise for membership of the Modified Pension Scheme is now underway and if you haven’t already received the relevant paperwork from your brigade, I’m sure you soon will.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the modified scheme you will need to notify your brigade of your interest and they will then provide you with a detailed breakdown of figures unique to your individual circumstances.
While it is straightforward for serving personnel to be notified of the options by their local brigade it is also important that retired personnel who served between 01 July 2000 and 05 April 2006 are made aware of their rights to join the scheme. We would advise that if you know of anyone who fits this criteria to contact their ex-employer immediately.
Pensions contributions for RDS staff
Over recent years pensions contribution rates have increased as the government has sought to make public sector pensions more affordable and sustainable. During this period the RFU has continuously argued that RDS staff should be classed as low earners and therefore pay a lower contribution rate (members can request a copy of our submissions via RFU HQ). At present reference pay has been used rather than actual earnings, therefore pushing a RDS fighter into the same bracket as a Wholetime firefighter even though on average, Retained actual earnings are a fraction of Wholetime.
In recent weeks other stakeholders have supported our view which has led to more research being undertaken by civil servants. We hope that all fire service unions will eventually support this view and allow for a lower contribution rate for RDS staff.
We will keep you posted on any developments.
Recruitment and Retention Survey
Our online survey regarding the Recruitment and Retention of RDS staff is due to close next week so if you have not had the chance to submit your views we would suggest you do so very soon (available here).
The responses so far are confirming our fears that appliance availability continues to be an issue and is getting worse with little or no perceived action being taken by fire service management.
Further Industrial Action
It is disappointing to hear that three further periods of strike action are to take place on the 2, 3 and 4th of May. We would like to take this opportunity to praise all those who will remain at their posts in the interests of public safety during the action.
For those of you who are not a member of any rep body and feel now is the time to join one which will protect you, please click here for information of what we have to offer.
National General Secretary