5th December 2018 My Ref: MRP 1/8/11
To: The Secretary All Branches & Regional Councils
Freightliner section of the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS) – eligibility to join
The RMT have been advised by Freightliner management that they intend to impose some changes which would stop new employees from joining the RPS.
Currently when you begin your employment at Freightliner you have the ability to join the RPS from day one and start to build up a decent pension which is based on your salary and pensionable service. However, management have decided that they want to force members for the first 5 years of their company service into an inferior Defined Contribution (Money Purchase) pension scheme. Unlike the RPS which offers a promise of a certain level of pension at retirement, managements’ proposal is to take away this promise for the first 5 years and force them into a pension arrangement which will significantly reduce their retirement aspirations.
Management are proposing:
1. Existing employees who have not yet joined the RPS to have the opportunity to join the Freightliner section of the RPS which will run until 28th February 2019. If they do not join the section by this date they will then have a one off opportunity to join on 1st April after completing 5 years continuous company service. Those with more than 5 years company service will not be permitted the opportunity to join this section of the RPS.
2. New employees will not be permitted to join the RPS until they have completed 5 years continuous company service unless they are beginning their employment with Freightliner directly after leaving another railways employer and were already an active member of the RPS.
Our representatives on the Freightliner Pensions Forum have made it clear to management that these proposals are not only unacceptable but are also unjust as this section of the RPS is well funded i.e. there is enough money in the pension scheme to pay past and future pensions etc.
This item was placed before the National Executive Committee on 29th November 2018 where the following decision was made:
“That we note the imposed changes from Freightliner which will severely curtail access to the RPS scheme for new entrants and will in turn effect the funding levels and viability of the Freightliner section, which will have a negative effect on the existing RPS members in the Freightliner Group.
This union is completely opposed to Freightliner’s changes and the General Secretary is instructed to inform the company that we are now in dispute and to demand an urgent meeting. Further a ballot matrix of affected members to be prepared.
The General Secretary is also instructed to co-ordinate a joint coordinating meeting with our fellow Trades Unions at Freightliner.
Our members to be issues with a written summary of the position.
Branched and Regional Councils to be informed.”
Please be advised that in line with the above decision I have written to management advising them that a dispute situation now exists.
I will keep you informed of developments.