Pensions Dispute: Frequently Asked Questions

Look for the answer to your question about what's happening in the pensions dispute in our frequently asked questions.


What's happening - Why are we striking?

Why are we striking?

What stage are negotiations at?

The negotiations are still under way and we don't know the exact changes proposed yet, so why strike now?

What exactly will the pension changes mean to me (as an individual)?

Will the strike make the government ministers change their mind?

Why is UNISON taking action on pensions when we haven't on cuts?

The media keep saying our pensions are unaffordable for the country, how can we get our message out better?

Will the hike in pension contributions improve my pension or make my pension scheme stronger?

What is the 'Fair Deal on pensions' and why should I be concerned?

Is this the same as NHS "Choices" exercise?

What happens after the day of action on the 30th November - will there be more strikes?


I want to strike but I'm worried about....

I can't afford to strike

I'm a frontline worker - what about the clients I work with? They are vulnerable - I can't let them down

I work for a Charity / Housing Association / Voluntary Organisation so why am I affected by public sector pensions?

I am facing redundancy. Won't going on strike make it more likely I am made redundant?

My employer is saying that a one day strike would be seen as a break in service and that my continuity of service would be broken - is this true?

If I strike will that make my service be more (or less) likely to be outsourced?

Legal protection for those taking industrial action

What if I'm on sick leave?

What if I take annual leave?

Are my pension contributions affected if I take strike action?

I joined after the ballot can I take part?

Will this affect my pension?

I work part time, or am part of a rosta and the 30th is a non-working day for me - How can I be involved?


Why should I strike?

I earn less than £15,000 (pro rata) so my contributions won't change so why should I strike?

Why should I strike when I can just leave the scheme?

I think I'd be better off under the 'career average' (CARE) scheme so why should I strike?

Do I have to strike?

Do I still have to strike if I voted 'No'?


About the strike

What action is planned?

Do I have to tell my employer if I am going on strike?

Will I lose pay and if so how much?

I'm not a member yet - can I join now and still take part in the proposed action?

What should I do if I'm not covered by the dispute?

I have been asked to provide emergency cover but I want to donate my wages to the campaign - How do I do this?

The strike commences part way through my shift – What should I do?

My friends, family, or colleagues want to show support for the action how can they do this?

What should I do on the day of action?

I work in the NHS - what elements of my service will be running on the 30th? How will I know if I am on strike or providing cover?

I am a student in the NHS can I take part in industrial action? I supervise students on placement, what instructions should I give them about 30 November?


If you can't find the answer to your question here, contact:


Fact and Fiction: The truth about public service pensions

Published: 6 October 2011
Inaccurate information and misleading statements about public service pensions are rife in the media. Ministers are insisting that public service pensions need to be cut as they cost too much and the country can’t afford them. We don’t believe this is true. 
Link to a PDF document on this siteFact and Fiction: The truth about public service pensions 

 Employer Intimidation guidance


Management may circulate letters, documents and create rumours in an attempt to throw doubt on 

the legitimacy of the action.  Circulate letters of correction, restate official guidelines, tell members 

to ignore rumours and to take note only of official UNISON documents. 


Management may attempt to isolate, or indeed intimidate certain individuals or small groups with 

the view to encouraging strike breaking.  There may be threats concerning their careers or of 

disciplinary action.  Warn all branch members of this type of pressure and advise them they should 

in the first instance report this to the Branch officers.  A full report should then be made to the 

Regional Office.  The more members on strike, the less likely this is to happen. 


We hope that colleagues from non-striking unions will refrain from undertaking duties which would 

normally be done by members of UNISON.  Branches should ensure they liaise closely with other 

trade unions and organisations on local activity. 

Loss of pay 


Branches should seek to negotiate with employers that deductions are taken from the January 

rather than the December pay packets.  


If employers decide to deduct pay from those taking strike action branches are advised to seek 

agreement at local level for deductions of no more than 1/7th of weekly income (i.e. 365th of annual 

income) for a single day of strike action. It is essential in these discussions that branches ensure 

that deductions are pro rata’d for people who work part time. In instances where branches already 

have existing local agreements on deductions for strike action then we would expect those 

agreements to be kept to by the employer.  Any queries should be referred to your regional 




Published: 5 November 2011
Guidelines setting out the actions branches need to start thinking about in order to ensure the most effective action possible and clarify some of the technical issues and concerns members may have about protection whilst taking industrial action. 
Link to a PDF document on this siteGUIDE TO TAKING INDUSTRIAL ACTION 

How being on strike affects your pension

Pension strike factsheet

Published: 15 November 2011
What will taking strike action mean for your pension 
Link to a PDF document on this sitePension strike factsheet