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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Mark Serwotka gives an update on pension talks

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Hello it's Mark Serwotka the general secretary of PCS. Now, behind me is Euston

Tower, one of the workplaces in central London where we have many, many

members in HMRC working very hard to serve the public of this country and I'm

about to go in and do a members' meeting to talk about, amongst other things, civil

service pensions. So I thought it would be useful to do an update for all of you

as to where we are on the question of your pension. Now the first thing to say

is that there are two key questions about civil service pensions: one is about the

future, and the other one is about the situation at the moment where you pay 2%

a month more than you should for your pension. Let's deal with that one first.

The government, as I've said to you before, are not giving you the money that

is yours. You overpay 2% every month into your pension and we should get that back.

We're meeting the Cabinet Office regularly and that case has been put to

government ministers. Now there's an imminent general election and we don't

expect any answer from them shortly, but what I can say to you is this, that whilst

we campaign to get that money back, we have made it absolutely clear to the

government and the Cabinet Office that they have got to sort that out now and

any attempt they make in early 2020 to legislate in Parliament to continue to

force you to pay more, this union will resist. I will report back to you as soon

as the political situation is known and we can tell you what we've managed to

achieve on your pension contribution. But the second and more longer-term worry is

what's happening to civil service pensions for the future. The Fire

Brigades Union defeated the government in court and now all public sector

pension schemes have to be reconsidered to see whether the discrimination that

the court found has affected our scheme and what the government's going to do

about it. Now I want to reassure you of this - many members have written in with

queries about their own pension, what happens if people leave the civil

service, what happened to people who've already left, and what about the future?

And we have registered with the Cabinet Office all of those issues and demanded

negotiations and consultation to ensure that the pension scheme that we get,

that will have to be fit for purpose for the next 50 years, solves in a fair

way, all of those problems. We've made it clear to them that we

expect the government to pay the extra money that is due, that all people should

benefit from the judgement, and that nobody should be forced to pay any more

money for the government's illegality. Now what I want to stress is it's now

clear because of the legal process that it is going to take two years or more for

those negotiations to come to a successful outcome. What we're doing at

the moment is ensuring that we are prepared for those negotiations, that we

can deal with all the queries that you're sending to us and raise them with

the employer, and my pledge to you is we will keep you informed about how that

goes over the months ahead. But rest assured we will do everything we can to

secure the best possible pension for all members moving forward, and we will

continue to do everything we can to ensure not only do you not pay any more

money, but you get back the 2% you have overpaid. To do that we will negotiate

with whoever is in government and the civil service and we need to do that

with a strong union, of more people joining us, and more people getting

involved. Thanks very much for watching this video.

rest assured we will keep your pension safe

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