Socialist Worker

Network Rail attacks pension rights

by Dave Barnes, TSSA executive committee (pc)
Issue No. 2134

Workers at Network Rail are facing a major attack on their pension rights.

The combined factors of the credit crunch, increasing life expectancy and privatisation splitting the Railway Pension Scheme (RPS) into 100 pieces has resulted in workers’ contributions for the final salary pension scheme increasing year on year.

Workers are represented by three unions, the RMT, Unite and TSSA. Their joint objective of capping employee contributions to 10.56 percent has been overtaken by the speed of increase and the risk of destroying the benefits of the RPS, which enable us to retire at 60.

To cut costs Network Rail is coming for our pension rights. Its first attempt was to unilaterally impose an alternative and inferior scheme to the RPS.

This has been rejected by all but a handful of RPS members. It is now about to start a consultation process where it will propose cuts in benefits, particularly early retirement benefits, to reduce contribution rates.

The RMT and Unite negotiators have agreed with management proposals but reps from the TSSA union who surveyed members were almost unanimous that members did not want to see any cuts in benefits.

The TSSA will now be conducting a referendum urging support for industrial action if necessary to defend all existing pension benefits.

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Article information

Tue 13 Jan 2009, 18:37 GMT
Issue No. 2134
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