BT announced plans to review its defined benefit pension scheme (BTPS) in spring last year. The scheme closed to new members in 2001 and since then anyone joining BT has been able to join the BT Retirement Saving Scheme (BTRSS), a defined contribution scheme.
The review contained a proposal to close the defined benefit scheme to future accrual from April this year for around 11,000 managers employed pre-2001, moving them into the BTRSS.
Since then Prospect has been involved in intense and difficult negotiations to ensure that members, regardless of the duration of their service at the telecoms giant, receive a good pensions deal.
Members were balloted on a pay and pensions offer negotiated by Prospect at the end of last year. The offer included:
- an increase in pay by 1-2% depending on performance rating and position in pay range
- extra transitional payments for members who are being moved out of BTPS to BTRSS
- an increase in employer contributions for existing BTRSS members.
The ballot closed on Friday 5 January. Members voted to accept the pay offer by 74%, and 60% of members voted to accept BT’s pension proposals.
BTPS members voted by 53% to accept the proposals, and BTRSS members voted by 85% to accept.
Prospect national secretary Philippa Childs said: “This vote gives us a mandate on which to reach a final agreement with BT. While the margin among those in the BTPS is understandably much closer, members in both schemes have voted to accept the proposals.
“We recognise that this has been a difficult and painful decision for those who are currently members of the BTPS.
“However, the improvements we have negotiated and the transition arrangements will soften the blow for those having to move. Those who are already in the BTRSS, because they joined BT after 2001, will also see improvements."