The Communication Workers Union (CWU) yesterday reacted angrily to Royal Mail’s plan to end its final salary pension scheme for new employees.
‘The company has announced a six month consultation on this issue and the Union will also use this time to marshal its opposition to the plans,’ CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward pledged yesterday.
CWU leaders were speaking after visiting Downing Street yesterday to discuss the implications of the government’s announced terms of a financing framework for Royal Mail after a lengthy and protracted review.
This included the intention of Royal Mail to close the final salary pension scheme to future employees and for a reward scheme for workers that the company refers to as ‘phantom shares’.
Ward said the pensions announcement had come as a shock to the union.
He said: ‘We have not been involved in discussions on this issue nor have we even been made aware of these intentions.
‘The government and Royal Mail have had a responsibility to discuss the future of the pension scheme with us and they have failed to do so.
‘Ignoring the union on the crucial issue of the pension scheme is irresponsible and so is the plan to discriminate against future employees.
‘We are both shocked and angry at how this announcement has been made.’
The CWU said it ‘welcomed the fact that the government had formally rejected privatisation of the company as requested by the management and maintained public ownership of Royal Mail.
‘However, Royal Mail’s announcement of the “phantom share” scheme causes concern for the union’.
Billy Hayes, CWU General Secretary said: ‘The reward scheme announced by the government amounts to a consolation prize for Royal Mail’s management who had set their stall out in demanding part privatisation of the company.
‘It has long been our intention to secure funding for the company to deal with competition and the challenges they bring and we remain determined to ensure that postal workers get meaningful rewards for their part in achieving a successful company in the future.’
In direct response to Royal Mail’s announced ‘John Lewis type scheme’, Ward added, ‘Phantom shares are nothing but jam tomorrow.
‘They could result in phantom money and phantom jobs. We remain determined to guarantee real money, real jobs and a better future for postal workers.
‘We will be insisting that we are fully involved in negotiations on how rewards are paid.’