Our Ref: BR4/15/10
8 November 2018
TRANSFER OF LNER FLEET ENGINEERING STAFF TO HITACHI RAIL EUROPE
Following further negotiations with Hitachi, I am pleased to report that there has been further progress and improved commitments secured from the company by your RMT negotiators as follows:
1. In connection with the 75% subsidy which HR are willing to provide to non-safeguarded employees on other than LNER routes, the total maximum subsidy will be increased from £4000 to £5000 – this is a further significant improvement on the original offer of £2500. There is also a commitment that the allowance can be used on TfL Oyster services making it a more flexible and valuable benefit for Bounds Green members.
2. It is HRE’s intention that this will be an enduring arrangement and will be reviewed in a timely manner prior to June 2020 – this means that the Hitachi travel arrangements are not temporary and that RMT will have the ability to negotiate on the enduring arrangement at the time of the review in mid-2020 and that it cannot be removed at the company’s discretion.
3. BRASS will be (re)opened to non-protected RPS members within the transferring population and HRE will match employee contributions on a £ for £ basis up to a maximum of 15% on an individual’s pensionable pay – this is a significant measure that means members will get additional tax-free saving through BRASS accounts that will to some extent compensate non-protected staff for not being able to transfer past pension service to the new Hitachi section of the RPS. These member savings are tax free and will be matched £ for £ by Hitachi and along with investment returns could lead to a significant additional pension component at retirement.
4. Separately, HRE and LNER continue to jointly press DfT to agree the extension of the existing reciprocal travel arrangements between LNER and GTR and have requested that this facility continues in the short-term, pending a final DfT position on this matter. This matter is on-going and RMT is pressing hard to retain the travel facilities on Great Northern for Bounds Green members but there is not a confirmed position at the time.
While these fresh proposals are evidence of significant progress your Union is aware that they being developed almost at the last minute before the TUPE Transfer this weekend. While your Union feels it is important to report these developments immediately I do realise that the package needs consideration among members and Representatives before we take a formal view on our dispute with Hitachi. Therefore your NEC will consider the matter further next Tuesday 14th November when we may have a confirmation on the GTR-Great Northern arrangements available.
There will also be other details that we will undoubtedly have to hammer out with Hitachi after the transfer.
In addition, I would remind all members of the vital importance of returning your pensions options forms immediately as previously advised and of your Union’s view that while ultimately the decision to join the RPS rests with the individual employees, I would remind you that it is almost certain that the level of benefits and security being offered by the RPS will be far greater than those offered in HRE DC arrangement.
Finally, I am aware that a TUPE transfer such as the one you are experiencing can be very stressful and confusing for members, therefore your Union will continue to provide support for our members and in turn will need your support to be as effective and strong as possible, for the benefit of all, after the transfer has been completed.