BT reaches agreement with members to close DB scheme

Written by Natalie Tuck

BT has reached an agreement with its members on a new pension deal, according to union Prospect.

The deal, which was negotiated by the union on behalf of members, will see the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) close to future accrual with members moved across to the BT Retirement Saving Scheme (BTRSS), affecting 11,000 managers employed before 2001.

BT announced plans to review its defined benefit pension scheme 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.

Prospect said it has been involved in “intense and difficult negotiations” to ensure members, regardless of the duration of their service at the telecoms giant, receive a good pensions deal.

The new offer includes; an increase in pay by 1-2 per cent depending on performance rating and position in pay range; extra transitional payments for members who are being moved out of BTPS to BTRSS; and, an increase in employer contributions for existing BTRSS members.

The ballot closed on Friday 5 January and members voted to accept the pay offer by 74 per cent, and 60 per cent of members voted to accept BT’s pension proposals.

Commenting, 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."

A BT spokesperson said: “We’re pleased that employees represented by Prospect have voted to accept the changes we’re proposing to our two largest pension schemes. We understand the importance of our proposals for our employees and have spent considerable time developing them and working with Prospect, to ensure they are fair, flexible and affordable for all.

“Our employee consultation is due to end on January 17, after which we’ll consider all feedback before announcing our plans.”

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