PENSION ARRANGEMENTS – JARVIS UPDATE
I refer to my previous Circular, NP/161/11, 24th August 2011, as you will recall the Jarvis Pension Scheme section of the Railways Pension Scheme was placed in the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) after Jarvis Facilities was placed in administration in March 2010.
While the PFF offers compensation to workers when an employer goes bankrupt it does not, in many cases’ fully protect member’s accrued benefits and therefore many ex-Jarvis workers have found their pensions reduced.
The RMT’s position has been clear from day one that the Railways Act 1993, which promised that no railway worker would be disadvantaged as a result of privatisation, should be honoured. However, the RMT received legal advice which stated that the protection offered by this Act does not apply to a scheme entering the PPF. The advice went on that the PFF would take precedence over the Railways Act 1993 as it was subsequent legislation.
Despite this Legal advice the RMT has continued to campaign on the behalf those affected by this outrage.
The RMT Parliamentary Group met with the Government’s Pension Minister and highlighted yet again the inadequacies of the Railways Act 1993. While the Minister acknowledged this he was unable to increase the compensation of the PPF. He did recognize that the Jarvis/Fastline administration was a unique situation.
The RMT obtained figures on how much it would cost to increase all ex-Jarvis members’ pension benefits to 100%. The RMT Parliamentary Group wrote to the Pension Minister and suggested, using the data received, that the Government should convene a meeting with the RMT to discuss a way of increasing the PPF compensation. I have to report that this proposal was rejected by the Pensions Minister.
As I have expressed in previous correspondence the RMT will not turn its back on ex-Jarvis/Fastline members and will continue to fight until the promised made proper to privatisation are honoured in full.
Therefore the RMT Parliamentary Group will shortly be seeking to table an amendment to the Public Sector Pensions Bill 2013 to have those affected by the administration of Jarvis Facilities fully compensated in line with the Railways Act 1993 and ensuring no repeat.
Obviously this will be extremely difficult to achieve but our group will pursue this objective over the coming months in Parliament.
I shall keep you informed of further developments.