My Ref: MRP 32/1
10th December 2019
Circular Num: NP/277/19
To: The Secretary All Branches & Regional Councils
INCREASE IN THE STATE PENSION AGE
In accordance with Section 27 of the Pensions Act 2014 the State Pension Age (SPA) is regularly reviewed. The last review conducted by John Cridland was published on 23 March 2017 and recommended that the SPA should increase to age 68 over a two year period, starting in 2037 and ending in 2039, seven years earlier than originally proposed.
Legislation provides for the next SPA review to be conducted in July 2023 and the Government says that it will confirm any change to SPA then. Any such proposal would still require approval by Parliament.
As a result of the above recommendation the following resolution was carried at the National Retired Members Advisory Conference held on 19th April 2018 and was submitted to the 2018 RMT Annual General Meeting where it was carried:
“The London & Anglia Region R.M.A. request the NEC raises with the Government our concern in regards to them raising the State Pension Age.
We further note that owing to the rise in the State Pension Age levels of stress are on the increase as well as the decline in levels of job-satisfaction staff.
Those members who retire due to industrial accident, failing eyesight or hearing impediment caused by working in a transport environment are forced to stop working, many years before the retirement age officially designated by our employer.
The consequence of these developments is that there will be an increasing gap between the age at which the State Pension begins and the age our members actually cease employment. As a result, retirees will face increasing level of financial hardship.
This Advisory Conference calls on the NEC to develop policies and negotiation strategies designed to improve the rail and transport staff pension funds in order to mitigate the effects of the increase in the State Pension Age.
We note that many other trade unions in the Public Sector who have occupational pension schemes will be similarly affected. We therefore urge the NEC to liaise with those other unions to achieve our aims and also to support the National Pensioners Convention campaign against the increase in the State Pension Age.”
In consideration the National Executive Committee on 1st August 2018 made the following decision:
“That we take up this issue in line with the AGM decision and note that we are already developing and implementing strategies to protect and improve pensions for our members in the areas where we organise whilst also campaigning against the increase in the State Pension Age.”
As a result of the above NEC decision the RMT wrote to the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) inviting them to share with us their strategies in respect of campaigning against this appalling proposal and wrote to rail unions to get their views on a joint campaign.
The RMT also wrote to the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS) and TfL Pension Fund trustee boards asking whether they have considered the impact the increase in the SPA may have on pension scheme members.
I can advice you that we have received replies from the NPC who outlined their campaign strategy and ASLEF who advised that they are focussed on preventing the reduction of occupation benefits for their members’ and ensuring employers justified retirement ages are introduced as they see this as the best way to achieve the goals of fair retirement ages for all union members.
I can also advise that we have also received responses from the RPS and TfL Pension Fund trustee boards, please see below.
An update was placed before your NEC on 2nd December 2019 where the following report was noted and adopted:
“We note the correspondence on file from TfL and the RPS in respect of the proposed increase to the State Pension Age.
It is noted that the trustees of the TfL Pension Fund have considered the increase but believe that members retiring before their Basic State Pension is payable have a “level pension” option which trustees believe will assist in lessening the affect on the increase to the State Pension Age.
In respect of the RPS, the trustees have not considered the increase but have also stated that members will also have the option of taking a “level pension” option.
However, while there may be occupational benefits for some of our members which will help mitigate the increase in the State Pension Age this NEC believes that this does not address these unions’ real concerns.
We therefore instruct the General Secretary to write to our Parliamentary Group, the Labour Party and the TUC asking what they intend to do about this proposal which will force millions of working people to potentially work until they are age 68.”
I will keep you informed of any developments.