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Great Western Railway: Changes to pensions

4 March 2016

TSSA Referendum

 

I wrote out to members in Great Western Railways (GWR) on 17 February outlining GWR’s proposals to make changes to your section of the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS). That circular can be found online at www.tssa.org.uk/GWR or by clicking here if you haven’t seen it then I would recommend you reading that communication before continuing.

I advised that we had written to the company to clarify certain points the key element of that clarification was whether they would be excluding the second year of the 2 year pay deal for the purposes of any pension pay capping in 2016. The rational for this request from the trade unions being that the pay deal had been agreed before these pensions’ proposals were tabled.

TSSA has had confirmation from GWR in writing that advises:

“that following the consultation, if the proposals are implemented, we plan to set the fully pensionable pay cap for the 2016/17 at the same level as the 2016/17 pay award that was agreed as part of the 2-year deal in 2015/16. i.e. the fully pensionable pay cap for 2016/17 of February RPI or 2% (whichever one is greater). As the annual pay award will use the entire amount of the fully pensionable pay cap that will mean that any other pensionable pay increases that a colleague receives in 2016/17 will be pensionable for future service only. For the avoidance of doubt, in the event that a colleague receives a promotion in 2016/17 before their pay anniversary date then the fully pensionable pay cap will be applied to their promotion in the first case (ie pay changes within a financial year are treated in the order that they take effect for the purposes of comparison with the cap).”

Whilst there are some questions that GWR has yet to answer we believe the fundamental basis of the proposals is unlikely to significantly change therefore we believe it is the correct time to seek TSSA member’s views on the pension’s proposals.

Referendum

It now falls on me to run a referendum ballot and recommend acceptance of the offer, this recommendation is based on the agreement achieved by the trade unions being a significant improvement on the TOCs original proposal that included options to:

· Introduce CNERF from age 65,

· Abolish lump sum payments

· Change the accrual rate of your pension.

The trade unions have also been able to ensure that there will be no element of non-pensionable salary introduced by the proposals (something that exists in other firms) and obtain a last minute concession to remove members with an indefeasible right from the change of retirement age.

TSSA members are asked to vote and have their say by participating in an online referendum, please respond using the below link by 11am on Friday 18 March

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GWRPension

If you have colleagues who aren’t members and wish to have their say then please encourage them to join at www.tssa.org.uk/join

Please remember that the company consultation is still open until 21 March and you can feedback comments direct to them using the email address GWR.PensionConsultation2016@gwr.com

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