FBU and govt agree memorandum of understanding; McCloud solution confirmed

The government and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have agreed a memorandum of understanding to allow retained firefighters to receive their pension entitlement from an earlier point in their careers, with their pension based on their modified scheme.

Prior to the negotiations, only employment dating back to the introduction of the part-time worker regulations on 1 July 2000 was counted for the purposes of retained firefighters’ pension entitlements.

However, a November 2019 Supreme Court ruling, O’Brien vs Ministry of Justice, revealed that a scheme similar to this one discriminated against older workers, who would be more impacted by this limitation.

The FBU has now negotiated a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the ruling, giving retained firefighters the opportunity for their employment to be made pensionable much earlier in their careers, including retained firefighters who have transferred to wholetime.

Commenting on the update, FBU national officer, Mark Rowe, said: “This is very good news for retained firefighters who will now be provided the opportunity to have previous employment as a retained firefighter count towards their pension, under the conditions of the Second Options Exercise Memorandum of Understanding.

“Some retained firefighters were previously losing out, so we’re delighted to successfully conclude these negotiations for our members.

"The government have been proved wrong time and time again when it comes to pensions, and we will continue to fight for justice for all of our members.”

Alongside this, the government has confirmed that it will proceed with proposed changes to the scheme to implement its McCloud solution, after a High Court ruling found that the government’s public sector pension reforms were discriminatory on the ground of age.

Following a consultation, the government confirmed that it will move all members to the 2015 scheme on 1 April 2022 and close the legacy schemes to future accrual from 31 March 2022, meaning that all members are treated equally in respect of any pensionable service accrued after 31 March 2022.

Subject to the necessary parliamentary approval, the changes are expected to come into effect from 1 April 2022, in line with similar changes for NHS members and Civil Service pensions.

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