Scottish Autism’s staff are distressed after hearing plans to slash their pensions, say UNISON

A Scottish charity, Scottish Autism, has informed staff they plan to withdraw them from the local government pension scheme, slashing their pensions and leaving staff worried about their future retirement plans. These workers will be moved to a less costly defined contributions scheme.

The union say, the planned withdrawal from the scheme will have the worst affect on the longest serving members of staff. Many who have suffered real terms pay cuts for several years.

The move will see the employer cut its contributions by almost 60 % at the same time employee’s costs will rise by almost 30%.

The decision was relayed to staff at a pension meeting. Employees were left expressing their anger at the employers move to ditch their pension scheme for what they believe is a cut price option.

UNISON officials who were at the meeting say Scottish Autism employees were visibly distressed at the plans. UNISON say this is a cynical move to cut the benefits of long serving staff, to save money and force them to seek alternative employment.

UNISON regional organiser, David O’Connor said: “It is unacceptable that staff, some of whom have worked for Scottish Autism for 30 years, will see their pension income reduce by thousands of pounds. These are loyal workers who are committed to providing care to people with autism and their families, and then they are rewarded with pay cuts and their pensions slashed.

UNISON is also concerned that the employer has been providing contradictory information to staff, saying on the one hand it is not about cost cutting, but then implying if the pension changes do not get pushed through then the future of the organisation is in jeopardy.”

“UNISON have requested the employer explain their business case for the proposals, and show their plans are legal. So far, we have not received a reply and they seem to want to speed ahead without proper discussion and engagement with staff. UNISON continue to demand answers.”

Notes for editors: UNISON is Scotland’s public service union. We are the largest union in the charity sector and the largest union in Scotland. Our 150,000 members work across public services – including local government, the NHS, education, social care, police services, energy and water. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Scottish Autism is the largest provider of autism-specific services in Scotland. It provides support services across Scotland for those diagnosed with autism.

UNISON contacts: David O’Connor, regional organiser: 07956 121861
Danny Phillips, communications officer: 07717715277 / 07944664110