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Union leader says workers are ‘concerned’

Concerns: Unite union leader Les Parker is concerned about the deal to change the way council pensions are administered

Concerns: Unite union leader Les Parker is concerned about the deal to change the way council pensions are administered

Thousands of county council workers will have their pensions administered by a private firm.

One Connect Ltd will carry out the functions on behalf of Lancashire County Council.

The agreement has sparked some concern from staff and union members, who say they have been ‘left in the dark’ about what the move will mean.

One Connect Ltd is a private company run by British Telecom which has taken over the running of a number of County Hall functions, with the aim of saving £400m over 10 years.

One council worker, who did not wish to be named, said: “We have not received any prior consultation before we were called into a meeting and told this would be happening.

“The reaction was far from positive. They had no information to offer us. The questions we were asking couldn’t be answered.”

Les Parker, who represents county council workers at trade union Unite, said: “I am not surprised there are concerns.

“I am a pensioner paid by Lancashire County Council and I haven’t formally been told about this yet.

“I would be horrified to think this firm had anything whatsoever to do with the payment of my pension.

“Who has the authority to transfer these services to One Connect? It has certainly not been put out to private tender.”

Gill Kilpatrick, County Treasurer, said: “These proposed changes relate to the administration of our pension fund, such as pension payments, transfers and retirement arrangements.

“They will not affect the investment side which would remain with the county council. There will be no changes to the pensions themselves, purely how they are administered.

“One Connect Limited is a joint venture partnership between Lancashire County Council and BT.

“Our Pensions Service fits in much better with some of the other council services which are already provided by One Connect - such as HR, the Customer Service Centre and the Pensions Help Desk.

“It is proposed that management of the Pension Service will change over in the New Year.

“We expect staff to transfer across to One Connect in March and have already informed the staff who are involved.”

 

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