CHANGING LEGISLATION AND MAKING HISTORY
In January 2018, Royal Mail Group (RMG) and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) announced a ground-breaking agreement on matters including pay, pensions and operational change.
Following the decision to close RMG’s Defined Benefit pension scheme, RMG and the CWU agreed to implement a new Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) scheme combined with a guaranteed lump sum at retirement to deliver the best pension arrangement for RMG’s c.143,000 UK employees. However, this required primary legislative change, which the Government and officials were initially sceptical about implementing for just one company.
This long-term campaign began in November 2017, with RMG and CWU called to appear in front of the Work and Pensions Select Committee to contribute to its inquiry into CDC pension schemes. The Committee’s report, published in July 2018, recommended that the Government move quickly to enable the creation of the UK’s first CDC scheme; the Government subsequently consulted on the issue and stated in March 2019 it would bring forward legislation for CDC schemes as soon as possible, also backed by the Shadow Pensions Minister.
As other major political developments – including the change of Prime Minister, turmoil over Brexit, the 2019 election and the COVID-19 outbreak – took centre stage, RMG worked to maintain momentum with senior stakeholders across Westminster. Through the pandemic, RMG updated previous evidence, including extensive actuarial modelling, and informing stakeholders about the impact of COVID-19 on the financial markets and RMG’s proposed scheme.
Our work with the Royal Mail Group and Communication Workers Union really was about making history and shows how strong stakeholder engagement over a sustained period can bring about real world change that makes a difference to the lives of thousands of people.
The Pensions Schemes Act 2021 was given Royal Assent on 11 February 2021.
The campaign aimed to build cross-party support, see the smooth passage of the Bill, and ensure the Bill was compatible with RMG’s scheme design.
If you wish to discuss any of the issues mentioned in this article, please contact Mairi in H/Advisors Cicero’s UK Public Affairs team on email@example.com