British Gas National News
UNISON,1 Mabledon Place,LondonWC1H 9AJ. Tel: 0845 355 355
8th November 2011 BG/Pensions 2/11
UNISON LAUNCHES A SERIOUS CHALLENGE DURING THE CONSULTATIONS WITH BRITISH GAS
OVER THEIR PLANS TO CAP THE CENTRICA PENSION PLAN (CPP)
At the first consultative meeting with the company held on 2nd November 2011 UNISON have made a number of challenges to the proposed changes to the CPP. We have stressed the importance of our members’ pension schemes and made it clear that the company’s proposals require more discussion and debate over the coming months if they are to gain UNISON’s support.
Throughout this week and next senior managers will be touring the country visiting all main sites to present their proposals. While it is important for all members to be as well informed as possible about the company’s plans, UNISON will represent its members’ best interests through the consultation meetings between the company and the trade unions. UNISON will be working hard with management throughout the consultation period and we hope that an outcome acceptable to members can be achieved.
Following the local briefings members should pass on their questions and concerns to their UNISON rep so that these can be picked up during the consultation period.
Our discussions so far have been limited but we have challenged a number of the recommendations in the proposal. We recognise that there is considerable pressure on many occupational pension schemes at the moment, in both the public and private sector, and that the CPP is not immune to the same pressures. We also appreciate that the current economic, political and regulatory environment is particularly challenging for British Gas and may well continue to be for the foreseeable future. However, we are determined to ensure that our members continue to receive a good pension in return for the hard work and service to the company and to this end we will continue to discuss the proposal with the company as a priority.
At this early stage in the consultation, UNISON’s main concerns as follows:
– the proposal that promotional pay rises would be non pensionable could have a significant impact on those members who have ambitions to continue to develop their career in British Gas via promotions, including those on the Energy Expert Pay System. We believe this needs to be strongly challenged.
– as the career average pension scheme CRIS was closed in 2008, if a member decides to leave the CPP as a result of the proposed changes, the only company scheme they could join would be the Centrica Savings Plan (A defined contribution scheme). This is not the case for the engineers who can join their career average scheme CERIS which remains open. We are therefore seeking clarity as to why this difference is seen as acceptable by the company and why the CRIS scheme can’t be reopened for staff.
– you will be aware that the proposed changes to the CPP are in line with the changes recently agreed with the GMB for engineers. UNISON wishes to make it clear that while it has no wish to interfere in the affairs of the engineers, the merits or otherwise of the company’s plans for the CPP will be considered entirely separately and independently.
The company’s plans represent a significant change to the CPP and will have an impact on every member of the scheme. UNISON can assure its members that we will do all we can to defend the rights and expectations of CPP members and staff generally. We will keep you informed of developments as they happen and we will give members a say in whether or not we should support the company’s final plans when they emerge after the consultation period has closed.
If you are not already a union
member then why not join UNISON today?
See your local UNISON rep for details or log on to www.unison.org.uk and join online.