UK - A third BA pension scheme trustee has quit the scheme in the row over future indexation saying the scheme had become a ‘political football'.
Graham Tomlin joined Cliff Pockock and Mike Post in resigning over the issue at the end of last week. The BA trustee board is made up of 12 people in total.
In a letter, he said: "Like Cliff and Mike before him I believe that it is the duty of the trustees to serve the interest of the beneficiaries of the APS and ensure that RPI increases are paid this year and into the future.
"I feel that APS has become a political football with our beneficiaries paying the price of governmental interference in the affairs of a private company."
He said losing votes on the issue in trustee meetings had left with a sense of "righteous indignation".
Tomlin said very few people outside of government and company boards believe CPI is an appropriate measure of inflation.
The former trustee said scheme rule 15 allowed the trustees to determine that RPI is the appropriate index for uplifting pensions.
However, he added: "I am confident in my belief that regardless of how much information it considered it is unlikely that the trustees would reach any other decision than to confirm CPI. In fact I believe that I could predict the exact number of votes that would be cast for and against.
"Like Mike I feel increasingly constrained by what I am able to say and do while remaining a trustee and this is particularly true in developing political arguments.
"Like Cliff I will not break any confidence, neither will I question the integrity of trustees or advisers."
Tomlin said he would not rule out standing for election as a trustee again.
This comes as five separate organisations representing public sector workers launched a judicial review challenging the move to CPI for pension indexation.
The challenge is being brought by the Civil Service Pensioners' Alliance, the Police Federation, the National Association of Retired Police Officers, the FDA, the GMB and Prospect.
CSPA deputy general secretary John Amos said: "This is daylight robbery from hard-pressed pensioners who are having to bear the brunt of increased prices for food, fuel, heating, lighting and other necessities of life.
"On the basis of OBR forecasts, the change will rob existing pensioners of 8.5% of their expected pensions by 2017 and, according to Lord Hutton, up to 25% over a lifetime.
"The government claims that CPI is a proper measure of inflation for pensioners but they do not apply the principle to investments, wherein they continue to issue RPI-linked gilts."
CSPA said if successful, the claim will impact on all public sector workers and pensioners; not only those from the civil service and police, but also the armed forces, the NHS and local government, as well as a number of state benefits that were also previously adjusted in line with RPI.
It is also due to impact on the basic state pension from April 2012 - if successful, this challenge will reverse that decision.
National Association of Retired Police Officers chief executive Clint Elliott: "The coalition government decided to change to CPI indexation, despite clear assurances to public sector pensioners before the general election and without seeking advice from the UK Statistic Authority. CPI does not properly reflect increases in prices and does not meet legal requirements."
Letter in full:
Regrettably I feel that I must tender my resignation from the APS Trustee Board with immediate effect.
Like Cliff and Mike before him I believe that it is the duty of the Trustees to serve the interest of the beneficiaries of the APS and ensure that RPI increases are paid this year and into the future.
I feel that APS has become a political football with our beneficiaries paying the price of Governmental interference in the affairs of a private company.
Thirty years as a trades union representative and sixteen as a Local Councillor gave me excellent preparation for losing votes in meetings but never have
I felt such a sense righteous indignation as I have recently when coming from trustee meetings.
There are very few people outside of Government and company Boards that see CPI as an appropriate measure of inflation. Just yesterday PWC released their own measure and their Chief Economist had this to say.
Dr Esmond Birnie, chief economist at PwC in Belfast said: "Many people feel that the headline consumer price inflation index fails to reflect the full rate of inflation they face in their regular, everyday purchases.
"Our analysis confirms that this is indeed the case with the 'everyday inflation' rate in March being 5.1% as compared to a headline CPI rate of 4.0%."
Rule 15 allows the trustees to determine that RPI is the appropriate index for uplifting pensions however I am confident in my belief that regardless of how much information it considered it is unlikely that the trustees would reach any other decision than to confirm CPI. In fact I believe that I could predict the exact number of votes that would be cast for and against.
Like Mike I feel increasingly constrained by what I am able to say and do while remaining a trustee and this is particularly true in developing political arguments.
Like Cliff I will not break any confidence, neither will I question the integrity of trustees or advisors I respect all of you too much for that to happen.
I have enjoyed working with you and your excellent staff who have served the trustees extremely well over the period that I have been involved with APS.
I do not rule out standing again for election as a trustee especially if I believe that by doing so it can ensure that our beneficiaries receive the pensions that they worked for, paid for and have until now expected to get.
I apologise in advance if our actions cause your staff too much additional work or inconvenience.
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