Royal Mail managers vote against pension proposal

Almost one third (27%) of Royal Mail managers that turned out for a consultative ballot by trade union, Unite, voted against proposed reforms to the organisation’s defined benefit (DB) pension scheme.

According to Royal Mail, around 5,660 of Royal Mail’s 8,300 managers are Unite members, and 50% of these members voted in the ballot.

The proposals, which were published in a consultation document in May 2013, involve limiting the extent to which future pay increases would be pensionable, matching it instead to the retail prices index (RPI).

In May 2013, the group said: “This would allow it to commit to keep the plan open to future accrual, subject to certain conditions, at least until the company concludes its next periodic review in March 2018.”

In a statement relating to the Unite ballot, Royal Mail Group said: “We continue to have talks with Unite on a range of issues, and we are committed to making progress as soon as possible.”

But Brian Scott, Unite officer, said: “Our members have made it clear that the proposals put forward by the Post Office and Royal Mail to make changes to their pension arrangements are unacceptable.

“Our members have paid for their pensions during their working lives and it’s immoral that their retirement income should be reduced in this arbitrary fashion. The respective managements should withdraw the proposals as they currently stand.”

In its annual report, published earlier in August, Royal Mail Group announced it had reduced the liabilities of the DB pension from a deficit of £2.7 billion in March 2012 to a surplus of £825 million at March 2013.

The Unite ballot statement from Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail proposes to use some of the £2 billion of assets left in the Royal Mail Pension Plan after the government transfer to keep it open for existing members, subject to certain conditions.

“The proposal would see no changes to members’ contribution rates, retirement age or accrual rates.”

The Unite consultation will close on 25 August.