Talks on Monday to discuss the collective defined contribution (CDC) proposals for Royal Mail were "very productive", according to the pensions and financial inclusion minister.
Speaking at the Trades Union Congress's (TUC) annual pensions conference on 27 February, Guy Opperman revealed there had been a meeting on 26 February between the Department for Work and Pensions, Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) to discuss the plans.
Following the postal service's announcement last year it would close its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme, and move members into a defined contribution (DC) scheme, it has since agreed with the CWU to work towards introducing a CDC scheme for all employees.
However, this depends on legislative changes, with recent suggestions that the company could set up such a scheme if changes were made to secondary legislation.
"While it is still early days I am hopeful that this work clearly shows that the government can work with employers, unions and others to deliver good outcomes for members in retirement," said Opperman.
However, "while progress is positive", "no action would be taken unless an appropriate agreement can be reached by both parties".
"Nothing in pensions is simple and straightforward… there is a long way to go."
Also speaking at the conference, CWU assistant secretary Ray Ellis said the union and Royal Mail were "joined at the hip" in wanting to offer workers a better pension than was currently being offered by its DC scheme, and that they had reached "a difficult agreement".
He added: "Both of us are committed to doing what we need to do to get this legislation through."
The TUC, which advocates the introduction of CDC, said it was frustrated ministers have kept the development of these schemes on ice.
Deputy general secretary Paul Nowak said: "The government must allow employers to offer better pensions. Collective pension schemes would help many to have a better standard of living in old age."
He added: "Millions of workers face a pensions lottery in retirement. Market jitters can make someone tens of thousands of pounds worse off."
First Actuarial founder Hilary Salt, who is adviser to the CWU, told PP that the agreement between CWU and Royal Mail will be ratified by the CWU's membership, and their ballot closes on 28 March.
The TUC also released research findings which warned that many workers face a "pension lottery" when retiring.
The analysis showed that the average male worker could be more than £250,000 worse off if they retire on a bad year for the markets rather than a good one, and the difference for an average woman could be nearly £150,000.
The findings follow an analysis published in October 2017 which found market volatility means (DC) scheme members could lose up to £5,000 a year in later life if they happen to retire after a bad year of investment returns and annuity rates.
The TUC has called on the government to offer savers better protection from market ups and downs, by allowing them access to collective pension schemes.
Opperman also said confirmed the define benefit (DB) white paper due this spring will give The Pension Regulator (TPR) more powers to do its job quickly and decisively by introducing "tough new measures".
Although the defined benefit (DB) system is "fundamentally working well", it needs to protect members' benefits without hindering employers and business growth, he said.
The paper will touch on how the system works generally, as well as key themes like accountability and decision making.
The minister also spoke about how the pensions dashboard will transform the industry "as the internet did for business" and that he was "utterly behind the project".
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