BT’s pensions review consultation is due to run until 17 January 2018 and Prospect has been running members meetings and calls throughout November and December to talk to members about the proposals. We’ve literally engaged with thousands of members who have shared their thoughts and concerns about the review and these concerns and we’re engaging with BT about the themes that have consistently arisen.
We know that BTPS members would prefer that the scheme was remaining open on the current terms but that proposal is not on the table, for managers or for team members. The terms being offered to team members in order to keep the scheme open are not attractive and should any member doubt that then I would suggest that you look at the modeller for team members which would demonstrate the impact of that and this would have been even greater for managers. So we are recommending that members support the changes and the alternative improved DC scheme that BT has offered. There are some issues which people have raised about closure we will raise with BT. These include:
- AVC’s - we’ve had lots of feedback from members about the impact of closure on those who are currently purchasing AVC’s and have added years contracts and we’ve raised this with BT. This has arisen as a theme in their meetings too and as a result of our intervention, whilst BT are acting in accordance with the BTPS rules, they’ve agreed to look at this further and we’re hopeful that there will be a mechanism for those who wish to make AVC’s to continue to do so.
- Ill health retirement- we’ve also had concerns raised about the impact of closure on the small number of members that are currently in the process of applying for ill health retirement and are concerned about the cut-off date of 31 March 2018. We’ll be discussing this further with BT in the New Year with the aim of ensuring that those applications can be resolved under the current arrangements.
- Transition arrangements- BTPS members have also expressed views that the transition arrangements could be improved further and we’ve also heard from BTRSS members as well as BTPS members that the employer contributions to the BTRSS could be better. We will raise these issues with BT in the New Year when they’re considering the feedback they’ve received as part of this review.
- Re-organisation Policy (including enhanced voluntary redundancy terms)- concerns about the redundancy arrangements following closure of the BTPS have been a common theme during Prospect’s consultation, not least because BT’s consultation document referenced negotiations with Prospect on a new redundancy policy. I’m pleased to say that those negotiations have now concluded. We will have a new redundancy policy which applies to all BT managers and professionals. Significantly its states that BT will continue to achieve any required reductions through voluntary means and commits to consulting with the recognised trade unions should the need arise to make any staff reductions. The policy reiterates BT’s strong history of redeploying, retraining and reskilling employees impacted by restructuring. We will communicate more details of these early in the New Year.
- Members have expressed concern that there isn’t more certainty about the proposed early retirement and flexibility options and I’m afraid that it’s unlikely that there will be any more certainty by the time the consultation completes. That’s because these options have to be worked through with the BTPS trustees and the administrative arrangements put in place but BT are committed to providing these options as soon as possible.
Prospect’s pay and pension’s ballot remains open until Friday 5 January 2018 and I would encourage those who have not yet voted to do so. If you’ve any questions please send them to email@example.com but bear in mind that given the Christmas and New Year holidays you may not get a reply until the beginning of January.