Socialist Worker

News round-up

Issue No. 1997

British Airways

Unions will formally reject British Airways’ (BA) plans to alter pension arrangements at a meeting on 26 April.

Representatives from the unions at BA met recently to agree a united position.

BA’s proposals, which affect its New Airline Pension Scheme (Naps), involve raising the retirement age, introducing a slower accrual rate, capping the element of pay increases that is pensionable at the level of inflation and limiting increases in retirement benefits to 2.5 percent.

The Naps plan was closed to new members in 2003, but it still has 33,794 active members, 20,269 deferred members and 15,185 retirees.

Rolls Royce

Unions may ballot for strikes at Rolls Royce after it became the latest company to propose closing its final salary pension scheme to new workers.

The aerospace company is blackmailing staff by saying that a £500 million payment into three pension schemes is dependent on present workers supporting the plan to close its final salary schemes to the next generation.

Many workers feel betrayed by Rolls Royce’s management. In December 2003 employees voted to accept a reduced pensions deal in order to preserve the company’s final salary scheme.

That agreement shaved £567 million off the deficit in the main scheme – the Rolls Royce Pension Fund, which was closed to new members in 1999.

So the £500 million promised now is less than workers have already given up.

Rolls Royce recently reported a 49 percent increase in pre-tax profits to £584 million in 2005.

Arriva buses

A campaign by bus workers in the T&G union has won improvements in pensions.

Bus workers in one of London’s biggest bus operators, Arriva, will have access to the company’s final salary pension scheme even if they are new to the company.

Those with a minimum of five years service who are also over 40 years of age will qualify.

Around 1,000 will be directly affected of whom about 250 had already joined the final salary scheme or were in the process of doing so.

Rail workers

Rail workers are continuing a series of meetings over pensions.

The RMT, Aslef and TSSA unions have warned that failure to resolve the dispute before pension fund rules trigger massive contribution hikes from 1 July will result in coordinated ballots for industrial action across Britain.

Meetings were to take place this week in Manchester and London and are scheduled for Newcastle on Tuesday 25 April and Liverpool on Wednesday 10 May.

For details go to

100,000 to strike

Over 100,000 workers are set to strike in the first week of May.

Some 85,000 civil service workers in the Department for Work and Pensions have voted to strike on Tuesday 2 May and Wednesday 3 May against job losses. Some 25,000 further education lecturers will be out on the same days over pay.

If the local government pension strikes had gone ahead they could have been at the same time as these actions.

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Sat 22 Apr 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1997
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