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Chief executive's notes: Pensions, contracts, exit payments, and the AGM

HCSA General Secretary Eddie Saville casts his eye over some of the latest issues

Pension success
It is not often that we can say that active lobbying and campaigning on pensions with the current government has made them change their position, but on the Chancellor’s well trailed intention to change pension tax relief rules it looks as if our efforts, along with other unions, MPs and peers, have paid off.

We set out in the last issue of this magazine the dire consequences of those proposed changes to pension taxation and we now cautiously welcome what looks like the response we were seeking. But we are not out of the woods yet.

While other considerations may be weighing on the Chancellor’s mind for the moment – namely the forthcoming EU referendum – there is still plenty of time for changes to be introduced in future.

For now, though, it appears that we can shift our attention to the continuing battles taking place on other fronts.

Contract negotiation
While negotiations on the junior doctors’ contract have all but come to a standstill, negotiations on the consultants contract are still progressing and engagement is taking place with the employers and the government.

As with the juniors, a key issue is the stated objective to move to a seven-day service. We have said all along that we are are in favour of a safe seven-day service, but there needs to be capacity in the service and appropriate safeguards both for patients and medical staff.

We are not directly negotiating on contract reform but as you would expect from a national trade union we continue to engage with government and employers on a regular basis whilst negotiations take place to give voice to our members’ views.

We at the HCSA have called for contract negotiations to result in no detriment to our members and when we see the final proposals we will ensure that every member who is affected is asked for their views and comments.

In the meantime, we will continue to seek feedback from members and do everything we can to represent your expectations.

Exit payments
We are currently in the middle of a key Treasury consultation into the question of public-sector exit payments. The full consultation document can be found on the Treasury website. I would urge all members to submit your own views.

We, along with our fellow NHS unions and those from other parts of the public sector, will also be tabling submissions. In addition the TUC will issue its own detailed response.

If introduced, the government’s proposals as laid out in this consultation document will have a detrimental affect on our members.

AGM invitation
It is the HCSA AGM on the 22nd April and I would strongly encourage all members to attend this important meeting.

The details and agenda are available on the events section of this website. Of special interest will be the item on rules revision, which will discuss a number of proposed changes.

If you require any information on this matter please do make contact with head office.