UK - National Grid Transco has assured workers it included safeguards on their pensions when it sold four regional gas pipelines for £5.8bn.
The GMB union threatened strike action when the firm announced it was selling the Wales & the West Gas Distribution Network to a consortium, which includes the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and Scottish and Southern Energy, unless there were safeguards on pensions, pay and job security.
However, NGT insists that all members’ accrued pension rights will be retained or matched by the buyers of the Wales & the West Gas Distribution Network.
A spokesman said: “During our talks with potential bidders the retention of pension rights was something of paramount importance to us. We felt it vital to ensure that any staff transferred would have their pensions safeguarded.”
Around 4000 staff who will be transferred when the sale is completed early next year will have the option of becoming deferred members of NGT’s Lattice Group Pension Scheme or move their savings to a scheme offering “matching benefits” run by the new employers.
Union officials from the GMB and Amicus are due to meet with NGT and the new owners either on Thursday or Friday.
NGT runs both the £11.2bn Lattice scheme - named after the former owners of Transco - and the National Grid Pension Scheme.
The Lattice scheme is a closed final salary fund with defined contribution provision for new members. It has 12,000 active, 28,000 deferred and 74,500 pensioner members.
The National Grid scheme is not affected by the sell-off as its members work in NGTís electrical supply business.
Most respondents in this week's Pensions Buzz do not think businesses should be able suspend AE contributions if in financial distress.
Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has lost the appeal against his section 72 conviction and sentence for failing to hand over information to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
This week's top stories include Marsh and McLennan Companies agreeing to buy JLT, and the home secretary calling for AE to be scrapped in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
Lesley Titcomb says the watchdog wants closer interactions with pension funds to spot problems sooner and act before having to use its more stringent powers