Southeastern Trains

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Dear Colleague,

Introduction of Smart Pensions (Salary Sacrifice) – Southeastern Trains

I have been advised that Southeastern Trains management intends introducing a Salary Sacrifice arrangement called ‘Smart Pensions’. Employees will be automatically opted-in and must opt-out if they do not wish to participate. The Smart Pensions arrangement has not been agreed with RMT or any of the other railway unions.

Salary Sacrifice allows employers to make massive savings on their National Insurance costs by excluding pension contributions from NI. Employees make individual savings but these are small in comparison to the employer’s. The employer’s arrogance is breathtaking. They are automatically enrolling employees and giving barely four weeks to opt out.

RMT believes management should be paying their savings into the Railways Pension Scheme to support the fund at a time when the scheme needs additional assets. The funding level of all RPS sections has fallen and the Southeastern Trains Section’s funding is no different. There is no doubt that contributions will have to rise. This money goes straight back to shareholders instead of being used to support your pension fund. If management agreed to put all or at least some of their savings into the RPS, the need for increased contributions would be reduced.

However, Management is putting short term profits ahead of the long term interests of the pension fund. Southeastern’s accounts for the period to 28th June 2008 showed profits before tax increased by 5% to £35.065m. They paid dividends of £18m. The Go Ahead Group’s profits are even higher. In 2008 Go Ahead made profits of £77.2m. Last year it was £61.5m profit

Join RMT in our campaign against this corporate greed and profiteering from the railway industry. Help to make Southeastern Trains put pensions before profits by opting out of the Smart Pension. If all our members opt out management’s savings will be reduced significantly.

The deadline for opting out is 14th March 2010. An opt-out form is attached to assist members who wish to do so. Anyone submitting an opt-out form should keep a copy to prevent management denying that it has not been completed.

Yours sincerely,

R. Crow,
General Secretary