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Pensions – Railway Pension Scheme

12 November 2010

You were previously asked for your views on Amey’s proposals before a further meeting took place on 28 October 2010. This is an update on the current position.

What’s been happening?

Thank you to everyone who has raised questions and responded to the referendum ballot. Unfortunately I didn’t receive enough of a response to the ballot to give the company a response. However this did give TSSA the opportunity to express concerns raised by you that the company hasn’t provided enough information on how your pensions will be effected and ask further questions of the company. As a result of the meeting on 28 October 2010 various elements of the company’s proposals have changed namely:

- Agreement to review the pensionable pay cap every 3 years
- Implementation date of proposals from 31 December 2010 and agreement that no pay rises related to anniversary dates before then will be capped
- Confirmation that September’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) figure will be used in the calculations
- Confirmation from the company that we can now meet to negotiate on Pay

We asked for the final proposals in writing from the company and received these on 8 November 2010, which is why I am providing this update and to start a fresh a referendum ballot to canvas your opinions.

What are the proposals?

- Cap of RPI + 1% on pensionable pay for all future Pay rises and promotional increases after 31 December 2010
- All Current Railway Pensions Scheme (RPS) members to stay within the scheme (including Non-protected staff)
- Company and Trade unions to review the Cap every 3 years
- If RPI is negative in any given year it will be classed as zero for the purposes of calculating Pensionable pay
- No Guarantee on Past service protection (all service built up will apply to the final Pensionable pay at the end of the individuals working life)

This last bullet point has understandably generated a lot of queries and concerns from members. Currently your pension is calculated on the basis of two elements, your length of service and your Pensionable pay. Effectively the only element being changed is the pensionable pay element, which will be capped as explained above. This means that your whole reckonable service will be used in the final calculation of your Pension. There will not be a divide created in reckonable service which creates a bubble around past service and Pensionable pay up till 31 December 2010. That being said the cap will not be applied retrospectively and the reference to ‘protected’ is not related to whether you have protected status, indefeasible rights or non-protected status. I realise this is a highly complex element to verbalise and understand but hopefully either your representatives or myself can answer any questions regarding this.

Through the efforts of yourselves and your reps in uniting to oppose the original proposals, to freeze pensionable pay and move Non-protected staff out of the Pension scheme, we have managed to achieve major improvements to the original proposals. You should be congratulated for your efforts.

TSSA’s position

As the Proposals have improved since I last wrote to you our position is still to recommend them to you and ask for your feedback on the new updated proposals. I explained in my last circular that we are obviously unhappy about accepting any changes to the scheme but that on balance due to the problems faced by the scheme it is necessary to implement some change to ensure it’s future.

For X-Atkins staff members who have concerns around their 2009 Pay offer the company has confirmed that we will continue negotiations in tandem with the next Pay meeting relating to the 2010 rise.

What Now?

We will now be seeking your views on the proposals by running a fresh referendum ballot. I want to ensure that as many people as possible respond to this to ensure that we have a view from members and so this will run up until 12 noon on Monday 29 November 2010.

The referendum ballot will be conducted in two ways:
- If you receive the link for this circular via email we will gather responses electronically via Survey Monkey (please have your membership number to hand so that we can verify you are a member of TSSA)
- If you receive this circular via paper then you will receive a paper ballot form to complete and send back.

If you are not in the RPS scheme then please cross the box to highlight this. Alternatively if you receive this circular and you no longer work for Amey then please contact our members helpdesk to update your details by calling 08003282673 or emailing] making sure that you do not take part in the ballot.

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