Centrica Pensions

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2008 Energy Service Group Conference
2 February 2008
Carried as Amended

This Conference notes with concern the policy of companies within the energy industry to close final salary pension schemes. This has moved forward with the announcement by Centrica pensions to fundamentally change their entire pension portfolio, where the protected final salary scheme is to be transferred resulting in increased contributions and reduced benefits for our members. The replacement scheme which was put into operation when the final salary scheme was closed to new staff is also to be radically altered. New staffs are to be given to option to join a defined contribution scheme with the 3-5% staff contributions being matched by the employer. The Centrica pension scheme has an employer contribution of 26%.

This action is a cause of concern to our members on three fronts:

1)Members face losing their rights to a consultative ballot that requires a two-thirds majority before any changes to the final salary scheme can be made.

2)Members were assured when the final salary scheme was closed to new members that existing pensions were protected;

3)Members were assured that the replacement schemes offered to new starters was the best available and would provide a reasonable return.

This Conference:

1)Deplores the actions of employers who are being allowed to change the Terms and Conditions of employees in relation to pensions at will, leaving members powerless in the fight to stop the changes.

2)Believes that if the practice of closing final salary schemes is left unchecked where private companies may lead the way the public sector may seek to follow.

This conference calls upon the Service Group Executive to mount a strong campaign opposing the practice of sweeping changes to pension schemes including the lobbying of the Pensions Minister to put forward legislation to protect the pension rights of members