Pension victory for RFA, Nexus, Tyne & Wear Metro and Orkney Ferries workers

My Ref: MRP 1/8/1

19th July 2019

Circular Num: NP/126/19

To: The Secretary All Branches & Regional Councils

Dear Colleagues,


As you will recall in 2011 the RMT balloted its members working for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), Orkney Ferries and Nexus, Tyne & Wear Metro as a result of the coalition government’s attack on public sector pensions. Indeed many of our members who were balloted took part in collective industrial action with other public sector workers on 30th November 2011 in defence of their pensions.

The changes which were being proposed and eventually implemented in 2015 included changing Public Sector Pension Schemes from final salary to Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE), increasing member contributions and increased the Normal Retired Age.

However, in December 2018 the Firefighters union the FBU and a group of 230 judges won their case in the Court of Appeal against the government that these pension changes were discriminatory and as a result of this decision the changes made in 2015 would have to be reversed i.e. scheme members would have to be placed back into the same position as they were before the changes were implemented.

The FBU argued that the changes, which were imposed on younger members, were unlawful on age discrimination grounds. These changes meant that older members could stay in the existing and better pension scheme, and younger members had to transfer to a new and worse scheme, causing huge financial losses.

Despite appealing against the courts decision the government has confirmed that the Supreme Court has refused the government's application to appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision and so the FBU's victory now stands. The scheme regulations will now have to be amended to put members who were in the schemes by 31 March 2012 in the position they would have been in if the 2015 changes had not been made. That may take some time, so you should not expect any changes in the near future. But when changes are made to improve the position, they will be retrospective to 1 April 2015.

While this union still awaits further information in respect of this decision, it is clearly good news for RMT members who contribute to the Principle Civil Service Pension Scheme (RFA) and the Local Government Pension Scheme (Nexus,Tyne & Wear Metro and Orkney Ferries).

This union will closely monitor this situation and report back to you as soon as there are further developments.

Yours sincerely,


Mick Cash
General Secretary