My Ref: MRP 1/8/1 31th May 2019
Circular Num: NP/098/19
To: The Secretary All Branches & Regional Councils
RPS TOC Sections 2016 Actuarial Valuation – Intervention by the Pension Regulator
I refer to Circular NP/030/18, 13th February 2018, following the recent news that Stagecoach have been disqualification from three recent Rail Franchise bids as a result of them putting in non-compliant bids it has quite understandably raised concerns amongst our members in respect of their future pension benefits.
As I have previously reported the intervention by the Pension Regulator (tPR) has undoubtedly caused Stagecoach to submit a non-compliant bid, although I have to advise you that talks between the RPS trustees and tPR in respect of 2016 Actuarial Valuation are still ongoing.
The RMT has received joint correspondence from the Work & Pensions and Transport select Committees to the DfT in respect of the Stagecoach’s ban from bidding for any future rail franchises because they have refused to honour any future pension deficit.
Your NEC on 28th May 2019 considered the mentioned correspondence and adopted the following report:
“We note the joint letter from the Work & Pensions Committee and Transport Committee to the DfT raising a number of questions in relation to the alleged TOC deficit in the RPS and the disqualification of Stagecoach from tendering for the East Midlands franchise which was a consequence of their refusal to meet any future pension deficit created by the Pensions Regulator (tPR) interference in full.
Whist talks between the RPS Trustee and tPR are still ongoing the response from the DfT states that TOC employers will be given financial assistance from the government with any future deficit whist members of the scheme will still have to meet their share of the deficit in line with the RPS shared cost arrangement.
It is clear that the Pension Regulators intervention and the DfT’s proposal to share any deficit risk with TOC employers is not just an attack on our members future pension rights but also puts in doubt the long term future of RPS.
We therefore, instruct the General Secretary to write to the Minister of State, Chris Grayling (DfT), tPR, all TOC employers, the Rail Delivery Group and rail unions making it clear that if there is a move to impose reductions in future pension benefits or significantly increase member contributions this union will take the necessary action to defend our members’ pensions.
This union will not tolerate the position where Chris Grayling plans to subsidise TOC employer contributions while attempting to raise member contributions and cut benefits.
Any such attack whether by the initiative of tPR, employers or as a result of Chris Grayling’s privatisation agenda will be met with a campaign of coordinated industrial action across the rail industry to defend pensions.
Further, along with a circular reporting this decision, the General Secretary is instructed to provide a summary of the issues involved for Branches and Regional Councils.”
As instructed please find attached a summary of tPR intervention and the issues surrounding Stagecoach. I will of course be carrying out the rest of the actions contained in the NEC decision.
As you will note from the above report and attached summary this union will not tolerate in any shape our members future pension rights being attacked either as a result of government policy or greedy employers wanting to get their share of the failed franchise model.
I will keep you informed of developments.