UK - Network Rail workers are poised to strike over the company's decision to close its final salary scheme to new entrants from April 1.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport workers told PP industrial action was “imminent” unless the company backed down over its plans.
The company plans to close the Network Rail Pension Scheme – part of the £13bn Railways Pension Scheme – to new entrants because it is “too expensive”.
New staff will be offered a defined contribution plan with an employer contribution of up to 7% if staff contribute 4% of salary.
The firm’s 25,000 existing members will be unaffected.
RMT pensions officer Nick Cole said: “We have told [Network Rail] that unless it changes tack and decides not to close the final salary scheme, we will be in dispute.
“We are now awaiting a response from the employer before we decide to ballot staff.”
The RMT claims some 5000 maintenance contracting staff, who the firm plans to bring back in-house this year, will be adversely affected by the change.
“The new Network Rail Defined Contribution Pension Scheme is significantly inferior to the final salary scheme,” Cole said. “These members deserve to have decent pensions.”
Network Rail – which has doubled its contributions to the scheme in the past five years from £20m to £42m – said: “We feel the DC scheme is very good – particularly compared to others being offered.
“There is huge pressure on the company not only to reduce its costs but also to introduce stability into the long-term funding of its pension arrangements.”
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has set out plans to use "new regulatory initiatives" with over 1,000 schemes as it aims to tighten its regulatory grip and boost member outcomes.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced it is delaying the provision of data that will enable pension schemes to confirm the guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) benefits to pay to members until the end of the year.
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