Responding to the interim report into the Transport for London pensions review published today, TSSA - which is the biggest union in TfL - welcomes recognition that the existing scheme is a viable ongoing option and repeats opposition to any pension cuts.
The Pensions Review is headed by Sir Brendan Barber and he has authored the interim report which includes a shortlist of options for the next period of the review. TSSA has made it clear that cuts to pension provision or hikes to staff contributions are unacceptable, as backed up by 96% of staff surveyed on the issue who said the long-term future of the TfL Pension Fund in its current form is either ‘extremely important’ or ‘very important’ to them.
Key points in today’s report include:
- The shortlist of four options for the scheme going forwards, all of which are final salary linked schemes, including the current scheme;
- Defined contribution and cash options excluded from the shortlist;
- A recognition that the pension scheme is "the only benefit of substance on offer to TfL employees" (there are no health or other benefits on offer to the vast majority TfL or London Underground staff, unlike comparable companies);
- Recognition that "the overall benefits package at TfL tracks below the market median for a number of key roles – a point acknowledged by the TfL Independent Review in 2020" which is a major factor in staff recruitment and retention.
Commenting on the report, TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: “We welcome the fact that today’s report clearly identifies the existing Transport for London pension scheme as viable ongoing pension provision for TfL staff.
“It’s welcome that all the options in the report have final salary elements and that all of the defined contribution options have been rightly swept away.
“It’s significant that the report specifically recognises the pension scheme as the only benefit of substance to TfL staff. With staff retention issues across the organisation, pressures on salaries and threats of staff cuts, this must be central to considerations and the current scheme must be retained.
“Let’s be clear – our members will not accept any cuts to their pensions or hikes to contributions. This is a fully funded scheme and any attempt to scrap it will be overtly political and we will resist any cuts in the strongest ways possible. We stand ready and willing to ballot for strike action to protect members’ pensions.”
In a recent short member survey carried out by TSSA, 96% of our members see the long-term future of the TfL Pension Fund in its current form as either ‘extremely important’ or ‘very important’ to them. This message has been reinforced by members at meetings in both TfL and LU. The Interim Report acknowledges that the Scheme is a "highly valued asset across all sections of the workforce" and quotes our survey finding.
TSSA's short survey also found that 83% of respondents agreed that in the event that “the Fund was changed so that it became more expensive for members and/or future pension benefits were reduced, it would influence whether they continued to work for TfL and lead them to choose to leave for another job.”