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.”
This week's top stories included proposed draft regulations in a no-deal Brexit which would make scheme investments illegal, and Esther McVey's resignation as secretary of state.
There have been a total of 15 ministers responsible for pensions since 1997. Here is the list in full.
Pension Buzz respondents have disputed Lord Myners' arguments that asset owners, including pension funds, are substantially to blame for short-termism in business.