Money Royal Mail workers to vote on plans to reform pension scheme

00:15  17 july  2017
00:15  17 july  2017 Source:   Press Association

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To help people save more for retirement, the Government requires employers to automatically enrol workers into a workplace pension scheme if they · If you are under age 63 on joining service: RMG enrols you into the Royal Mail Defined Contribution Plan which provides a life assurance benefit of

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The privatised group had planned to close its defined benefit pension scheme next year, which resulted in fury from the Unite and the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

However, on Friday, Royal Mail said that after "extensive talks" with unions, Unite is planning to hold a consultative ballot of its members on a new proposal, as it believes this is the "best available deal" and a "significant improvement" on an earlier proposal.

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"Royal Mail is one of few companies offering to replace one defined benefit scheme with another," the company said.

The offer - which will see Royal Mail present a choice between joining either a defined benefit cash balance scheme or a defined contribution scheme to the plan's 90,000 members - has also been extended to CWU members.

The company pays £400 million a year into the pension fund but warned this could rise to more than £1 billion in 2018 under the current terms, which guarantees a pension based on average salary.

The mail carrier said on Friday that its new proposal can be funded within its current £400 million contribution and, as a result, the risk to the group would be materially lower than at present.

Under the new proposals, the defined benefit cash balance scheme would provide members with a guaranteed lump sum at retirement, with Royal Mail upping its contribution.

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Plan members would also have the option of joining a new defined contribution scheme as an alternative.

In a blow to Royal Mail, the CWU rejected the proposal, arguing it "does not meet our aspiration of a wage in retirement pension scheme".

Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary postal at the CWU, said: "But rather (it) still promotes the conventional wisdom of a cash-out arrangement at the point of retirement.

"Whilst using elements of the CWU's proposed Wage in Retirement Scheme, it would still represent a significant shortfall in the pensions promise and it is not something that we are prepared to recommend to our members."

Royal Mail said that the CWU's own proposal is "too risky".

"Within six years, the CWU scheme's liabilities could be larger than the value of the company today and continue to grow quickly.

"After 20 years, the company could have an accounting deficit on its balance sheet of £18 billion – over four times the company's current market capitalisation."

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