UK - Banking union Unifi says a deal to compensate part-time workers previously shut out of Lloyds TSB's pension scheme is "imminent".
News of the Lloyds TSB follows the recent announcement that Barclays is to settle with 13,500 workers – a move that the bank will finance from the group's pension scheme surplus – and last month’s settlement by HSBC with over 2000 current and former employees.
Unifi is currently in negotiation with 25 other financial institutions including the £2bn Royal Bank of Scotland Staff Pension Scheme for similar settlements. An NAPF spokesman said: “This is evidence that employers want to settle. We are pleased that this issue is finally moving towards a resolution.”
However many questions about implementing last year's House of Lords decision on part-time workers still remain unanswered as the Treasury has confirmed that tax rules will not be eased. This means that workers will not be able to get tax relief on any contributions over 15% of their salary and they will be charged capital gains tax on any lump sum settlement.
Economic secretary to the Treasury Ruth Kelly said: “The employers concerned have a responsibility to settle on how this should be achieved in each case. There are outstanding cases before employment tribunals which are designed to determine how employers and employees should meet their liabilities.”
Unions are irritated that although the government is keen to see companies make these settlements it is dragging its heels over public sector workers' pension schemes – with several test cases not expected to be heard until summer of this year.
By Jonathan Stapleton
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