BT, photo Panhard/CC

BT, photo Panhard/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Socialist Party members in the CWU

A 60-day consultation is taking place to make changes to several BT pension schemes. The company proposes that, for managers, the defined-benefit BT pensions scheme is closed to future benefits and they revert to the ‘money purchase BT retirement savings scheme’.

The proposal for team members is they pay more in for less when they retire and that pension rises no longer keep up with the retail price index (RPI).

Instead, this is to be reduced to the lower consumer prices index (CPI). Or these two schemes could close.

Furthermore, in a cut to workers’ deferred pay, those benefits already built up or for retired workers will have their income cut to the lower CPI measure.

In a further twist, the company proposes that they revert to the legal minimum rise allowed in law for increases to keep pace with the cost of living, 2.5%.

And the lump sum for service would be removed after April 2018.

Clearly, the proposal that managers as a group see their access closed is an attempt to divide the workforce.

This must be opposed and joint campaigning by trade unions the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and Prospect should be initiated.

Correctly, the CWU is advising members to reject all the options presented by the company. The union points out that BT made over £7.5 billion in profit last year and paid out more than £1 billion in dividends to shareholders.

Branch meetings are now being planned as part of the campaign of opposition.

Socialists in the CWU demand:
  • The CWU telecoms campaign is coordinated with the CWU postal workers campaign. For a joint post and telecoms campaign to defend pensions
  • The CWU telecoms campaign coordinate action with the managers’ union Prospect. No separate deals
  • That the money purchase BT retirement savings scheme is incorporated into the defined benefit BT pensions scheme
  • The privatisation of Royal Mail and telecoms has led to major shareholders sucking the lifeblood out of both companies at the expense of the workforce. It is CWU policy that both Royal Mail and BT should be renationalised