14th May 2019 My Ref: MRP 6/1
To: Members of the Stena Line UK Section Of The Stena (2016)
Retirement Benefits Scheme
Proposal to close the Stena Line UK Section of the Stena (2016) Retirement Benefits Scheme
You would have received from Stena Line management a letter confirming that they intend to close the Stena Line UK Section of the Stena (2016) Retirement Benefits Scheme. I would like to make this clear that your union is totally apposed to this proposal and we have made our objections known to management.
I would also point out that while we are aware that management have commenced statutory consultation with members of the scheme, this union have not been a made aware of the facts i.e. provided with formal evidence that there is a need to close the scheme. Instead management are hiding behind what other UK employers have done when it comes to closing these types of pension arrangements.
The RMT are more than aware of the financial impact Defined Benefit schemes can have on businesses, however, because management have refused this union access to documents which would demonstrate whether the scheme is actual burden to the employer, we are of the view that his nothing more than an exercise to bolster profits at the expense of employees retirement expectations.
Management have made reference to the fact that there are only 67 employees out of a population of 1,600 who are in the Stena Line UK (2016) Retirement Benefits Scheme. We have advised the employer that this is not a valid reason to close the scheme, this is not a race to the bottom. We are of the believe that the vast majority of Stena Line employees would prefer to have a promise of a certain level of pension at retirement rather than risking their money on the investment markets i.e. defined contribution.
As a result of the lack of transparency from management we have requested that the employer ceases consultation so that this union can consider possible alternative proposals. With regret I have to advise you that this has been refused.
While our representatives have been attending member consultation meetings it is clear that management are using no real logic when it comes to closing this pension scheme, it is in this unions view that management believe because they can close the scheme then they will.
This union will continue to fight for our members’ future pension rights which I will keep you advised of but in the meantime I would urge you to register your objection to this totally unjustifiable proposal.
I will keep you advised of developments.