RMT launches campaign to 'defend' TfL pension scheme

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has launched a campaign to “defend” the Transport for London (TfL) pension scheme, declaring no confidence in an upcoming scheme review.

The union called for the launching of an investigation into the transfer of TfL funds into the private sector as an alternative to a pension review, making claims that “huge sums of money” were being “siphoned out of the transport system and into the pockets of privateers”.

It noted that the 2020/21 tax year saw over £60m paid to a private cleaning contractor, over £106m paid to privatised track maintenance contractors, over £30m paid to external fleet maintenance contractors and £2bn being paid to privatised bus operators.

It also called for further government support for TfL, arguing that comparable entities such as the New York Metro and Paris’ subway systems received far more government help.

RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, commented: “RMT will fight any attempt to impose detrimental terms onto our members. We will resist any attempt to make members work longer, increase pension contributions of workers – just a pay cut in disguise – reduce pension payments or undermine the fund in the long term by closing it off to future staff.

“Our members in TfL kept transport services running throughout the pandemic and were hailed as heroes. Now their reward is the threat of poverty in retirement.”

He said RMT had “absolutely no confidence in the review process set out”, calling it a “smoke screen for a massive attack on RMT members driven by the government and London Mayor’s agreement to make huge financial cuts on TfL and London Underground Limited”.

Lynch concluded: “We reissue our call for all regular TfL work to be immediately brought in-house and for an end to the gravy train of easy profits and dividends to the shareholders of the private sector.

“RMT is demanding that the pension scheme remains unchanged. Any other course of action will be met head on by the union, using every option available to us, including a determined campaign of strike action.”

Responding to RMT's campaign, a TfL spokesperson said: “TfL’s funding agreement with government included a requirement to carry out an independent review of the pension scheme, with the aim of moving TfL’s Pension Fund into a financially sustainable position which protects members’ pension benefits built up to date.

"Sir Brendan Barber has agreed to independently lead the pension review and will bring a wealth of experience having been a former general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and until recently serving as the chair of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

"Sir Brendan will be supported by Joanne Segars OBE, in independently conducting the Pensions Review. Joanne has expertise in pensions, as the chair of Now Pensions, one of the UK’s largest auto-enrolment pension providers and chair of the Joint Expert Panel on the Universities Superannuation Scheme.”

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