All members of the State Authorities Superannuation Scheme (SASS) which was open to firefighters from 1985 until 1991 will soon be receiving letters from SASS informing them that they are able to salary sacrifice the employee component of superannuation. For most members, this option should deliver a significant increase in take home pay and comes as a direct result of a campaign by the FBEU and other public sector Unions.
The option to salary sacrifice is contained to SASS at this stage however Unions are continuing to press the State Government to extend a similar option to the much more complicated and older SSS pension scheme enjoyed by a rapidly shrinking number of members.
At the same time yet another NSW public sector Union campaign is underway to increase the employer contribution to super above the minimum legal level of 9%. The FBEU is one of the key Unions driving this particular campaign and has managed to secure the support of the NSW peak labour body (Unions NSW) A core group of public sector Unions have been meeting with Unions NSW to co-ordinate the campaign with discussions ongoing.
Members should also be aware that the Howard Government has now backed down on one of its ‘Core’ promises that members of Federal Parliament would only be paid the 9% taxpayer contribution to super leading into the last election. Prime Minister Howard recently announced that MP’s would now have their super boosted from the current 9% up to 15%. At a special lunch time meeting of Federal Liberal Party MP’s a decision was also made to introduce a “redundancy package” for MP’s booted out of office at election time.
Our Union for its part made it clear that if politicians are to give themselves increased superannuation benefits then firefighters and all other public sector workers too should be given the same benefits. The NSW Premier for his part has now publicly ruled out a flow on of these increases in super benefits to NSW politicians. The political will to stand by these commitments however will rest with the capacity of organisations like the FBEU and every one of its members to hold these people accountable for their actions.
Firefighters – just like every other working person deserve a decent employer funded superannuation scheme. Not one that will compel members to live out their days in poverty.