An occupational pension is a major part of every member’s employment rights and are the major source of retirement income for many. They are a significant part of collective provisions, negotiated within a framework of rules rights and obligations. They are also a reflection of how a trade union seeks to work to protect and promote the interests of its members.
Members will often ask branch and group representatives for information and although it is not expected that union representatives have detailed knowledge of every aspect of their pension scheme members are entitled to receive advice from their union as to who to contact for advice in individual cases.
Usually it will be possible for members queries to be dealt with by the branch and generally they can be resolved most quickly at a local or departmental level. Branches should take up the problems first with the employer or the employers of pension administrator (their pension service centre - PSC) who have a responsibility to provide information and answers including detailed figures and explanations of calculations.
The employer (or their PSC) will have leaflets or booklets explaining aspects of their pension schemes which they should provide on request to scheme members. If the branch needs advice on progressing the inquiry they should initially contact their bargaining centre in PCS headquarters or regional office who will be familiar with any employer specific procedures or agreements and where advice can be obtained within that employer.
If the bargaining centre cannot deal with it either because it is complex or because it has wider implications the appropriate full time official should refer it to the pensions officer in the national bargaining, pay and pensions department in PCS headquarters who has responsibility for maintaining and managing case work in that department.
As was stated earlier, however, there is a considerable amount of resource which should be easily available either from your own departmental pensions branch or via the appropriate website.
For those members in the civil service pensions schemes a useful web address is the civil service pensions website follow publications, rules and forms and scroll down until you reach the appropriate leaflet you are seeking.
For our members in the commercial sector their own employer will be able to provide them with the relevant information concerning their pension.
PCS is not responsible for the content of external websites