Guernsey public sector pension dispute 'must be resolved'

A dispute over changes to Guernsey's public sector pension scheme "must be resolved", the deputy chief minister has said.

Deputy Allister Langlois said after three and a half years of negotiation "we must reach a resolution".

Unions representing workers rejected the latest proposals in January.

Later this month the States is being asked to approve the spending of up to £500,000 in pursuing a legal resolution to the deadlock.

Some union leaders have suggested about 3,000 public sector workers could march in protest of the legal action and in support of further negotiation.

Martin MacIntyre, chairman of the Association of States Employees Organisation, said "it's difficult to say" how many would turn out for the march in St Peter Port on 25 April, but he would "be delighted" with that kind of number.

He said the workers did not oppose moving from a final salary pension to a career average scheme, but there were "certain parts" of the "whole package" that were "currently unacceptable".

Mr MacIntyre said there were also concerns over moves to increase the state pension age to 70 and the lack of protection for the pension fund during periods of high inflation.

Deputy Langlois said: "The revised pension scheme which they are being offered would still be one of the most generous pension schemes in Guernsey.

"It's all a matter of sharing the risk between the taxpayer, who ultimately foots the bill, and the members."

He said although the legal action will mean spending money it would be with the aim of "avoiding spending something like £75m of taxpayers' money".

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