British firefighters preparing to take govt to court over pensions

The UK's Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has issued a letter before claim for Judicial Review proceedings against the government over the use of the cost control mechanism on the Firefighters Pension Scheme (2015).

As reported by our sister title, Pensions Age, the claim related to changes made to firefighters’ pensions following the McCloud ruling, which found that the government’s public sector pension reforms were discriminatory on the ground of age.

Older workers had been allowed to stay in the previous scheme, while younger workers had to move to the new 2015 scheme.

The union has claimed that the government is making members of the 2015 scheme “pay for the cost of the discrimination” through the cost control mechanism.

The cost control mechanism adjusts contributions or benefits if the cost of the pension scheme diverges from the target cost by 2 per cent or more.

The FBU warned that firefighters would lose out if the actual cost was higher.

“It is unbelievable that the government is trying to make firefighters pay for their own discrimination, and unbelievable that it is forcing firefighters to come back to the courts time and time again to try and win pension justice,” said FBU national officer, Mark Rowe.

“The government needs to get a grip, recognise its mistakes, recognise the highly valuable contribution that firefighters make every day, and sort out firefighter pensions in a timely and straightforward manner. Six years after the relevant pension reforms came in the government is still in a mess over this.”

In response, a government spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on ongoing litigation.”

The government has until 19 November to respond to the letter.

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