Royal Mail has now commenced a legal 60 day consultation on the future of the Defined Pension Scheme, the Royal Mail Pension Plan (RMPP). This Members Bulletin is designed to explain, in plain terms, the proposal, who it directly affects, how the consultation process works and the CWU response to this proposal.
1. What is being proposed?
Royal Mail is proposing to close the Royal Mail Pension Plan (RMPP) on the 31st March 2018. This would mean that members of this scheme would not be able to build up any further pension benefits in RMPP.
Members of RMPP would transfer into the Royal Mail Defined Contribution Plan (RMDCP) from the 1st April 2018.
Death in Service benefits and Ill Health Retirement benefits would also be worsened from the 1st April 2018.
Benefits accrued in RMPP up to the 31st March 2018 would be protected, held in Trust and uprated each year by RPI (Maximum 5%) to maintain their value, and paid out at age 60 and age 65. The ability to request early payment of an actuarially reduced pension from age 55 onwards would remain.
The business is offering a one-off lump sum of £750 to RMPP members affected by the closure of their scheme. This can be taken as cash (tax and NI payable) or paid into the members RMDCP scheme (tax and NI not payable).
2. Who is directly affected by the proposal?
Everyone who joined Royal Mail before the 1st April 2008.
Royal Mail unilaterally closed the RMPP to new entrants from the 1st April 2008. From this date, new entrants joined the Royal Mail Defined Contribution Plan (RMDCP).
The RMDC Plan does not provide the guaranteed benefits that the RMPP does.
The CWU has been campaigning to improve the RMDC Plan for a number of years, and negotiated a number of improvements to the Plan in 2013.
The CWU strategy for resolving this issue will be radical and directly benefit both RMPP and RMDCP members.
3. What is the consultation process about?
When an employer wishes to make changes to a Pension Scheme, by law, they must consult with scheme members for a minimum 60 day period. This has now commenced and will end on the 10th March 2017.
The consultation process is for members to ask questions on the proposal and to also give their views whether they agree or not with the proposal. If members do not provide their views then Royal Mail will assume that you agree with the proposal. If you are happy to have a worsened pension then you do not need to take any action, if, however, you do not want your pension worsened then you do need to take action. A simple email or letter stating that you do not agree with the proposal will suffice. Send it to either of these addresses:
Email your view to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send your letter to: Freepost MY PENSION, Pond Street, SHEFFIELD, S98 6HR
The company does not have to obtain your agreement for the proposed changes, but the more members who make it clear they do not agree with it will put pressure on the company to change their proposal.
4. What is the CWU Response to this proposal?
The CWU is opposed to Royal Mail’s proposal.
The CWU is currently in negotiation with the company on this issue and others.
These negotiations will continue throughout the consultation process and after it closes.
The CWU is developing a radical alternative proposal that will be designed to protect RMPP member pensions, and radically improve the pension arrangements of those members in the RMDCP. The principle that will be applied will be for equity of treatment for ALL members in their future pension arrangements.
This will be a very difficult goal to achieve, but RM’s proposal provides the CWU with a once in a lifetime opportunity to negotiate to equalise members pension arrangements upwards, not downwards as proposed by Royal Mail.
Members can greatly assist the Union by ensuring that you respond to Royal Mail during the consultation period making it clear that you do not agree with Royal Mail’s proposal.
Further Members Bulletins will be published as developments occur.
Barry Jennings, Steve Butts & Kev Martin
Anglia Divisional Representatives