20 Jan Rosalind Connor comments in Professional Pensions on Fire Brigades Union’s pension reform dispute

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has launched a challenge to the Home Office’s reform of firefighters’ pensions on the grounds that it is discriminatory.

The government has made a number of changes to the unfunded defined benefit (DB) Firefighters’ Pension Scheme, including increasing the retirement age from 55 to 60. The FBU contends firefighters younger than age 45 as at 1 April 2012 were penalised, as younger workers were automatically transferred to a scheme where they will have to work longer, pay more and receive a reduced pension.

Regarding the ongoing case, Rosalind Connor commented, “Pensions by their very nature operate in a discriminatory way and are about your age. What firefighters are complaining about here is that if you joined a pension scheme at a certain time, you were not going to be in the better pension scheme.”

“We are in a situation where people who are old have really good pensions and people who are young don’t. People with better pensions are going to retire and younger people with [worse] pensions will probably only realise what they have when it is too late. It is probably good we have this debate now about the fairness of older people having such a proportion of wealth.”

“The fact someone is bringing this type of claim is absolutely fascinating and it is very important we at least get a judicial opinion on what is the appropriate thing to do here. You may end up with a lot of claims at least being considered in this area.”

Read the full article in Professional Pensions here.