Southeastern Railways - Smart Pensions (salary sacrifice)

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To: The Secretary All Branches & Regional Councils

Dear Colleague,

SOUTHEASTERN RAILWAYS - SMART PENSIONS (SALARY SACRIFICE)

Please be advised that after an improvement was made to the Southeastern Smart Pensions (Salary Sacrifice) arrangement management took it upon themselves to opt-in employees to Smart Pensions without giving them the option to opt-out immediately. Management claim that they have an agreement with this union which allows them to opt-in employees without giving them the option to opt-out until March 2014.

No such agreement exists.

Despite the RMT making it clear to management that the democratic structure of this union does not allow such arrangements to made without the proposal going before the  General Grades Committee, management have still refused to allow employees the chance to opt-out.

The following resolution has been submitted Dover District General Grades Branch submitted the following resolution:

“This branch is concerned at the stance taken by Southeastern as they continue to pursue this issue. The wishes of the members and the decisions of our Union are being ignored while the company benefits from savings through our National Insurance contributions. For them to claim that our Union has agreed to this and further, that we agreed it to fund our pay deal is scandalous. The reputation of our Union requires a far more robust response than we have so far taken.

We ask the General Secretary to place the matter back before the General Grades Committee for their further consideration as a matter of urgency and for their decision to be circularised to Southeastern members as soon as possible.

Further, as many workers reach pensionable age yet continue working and our contributions to the state are reduced by the application of SMART pensions our members are concerned as to the long term effects to the State pension. We ask that the General Secretary research the matter and advise the branch accordingly.”

The resolution was endorsed by the General Grades Committee on 3rd October 2013.

The RMT has taken legal advice which indicates that unless individual employees are given the chance to opt-out immediately or there has been a collective agreement reached, the Southeastern Smart Pensions arrangement would not be recognised by HRMC and therefore unlawful.

In line with the General Grades Committee of 3rd October 2013 the RMT has written to Southeastern management requesting an urgent meeting to try to resolve this issue. In the event that management decline this meeting, or after discussions no suitable solution is reached, the RMT will have no other option but to contact HMRC and demand that Southeastern’s Salary Sacrifice arrangement is made illegal.

I will keep you informed of developments.

Yours sincerely,

R. Crow,
General Secretary