Defined Benefit Pensions in WET sectors

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2018 Water, Environment & Transport Conference
27 February 2018

Conference notes with concern the terrible situation faced by pensioners in Carillion’s pension schemes, following the collapse of the company with a huge pension deficit outstanding. Conference further notes that Carillion paid high levels of executive and director pay, and bonuses, and substantial dividends to shareholders, while not addressing the deficits in its pension schemes.

Many WET members in the Water sector, working for private sector bus operators and for the Canal and Rivers Trust, have watched these events with alarm as their pensions also depend on the strength of the employer covenant. Sufficient funding for pension repair costs and effective management of pension schemes are an urgent priority to ensure that members receive the pensions they expect upon retirement.

Conference therefore calls upon the Service Group Executive to:

1) Encourage all member representatives to engage with their relevant pension schemes and to request copies of latest actuarial valuation information and scheme annual report and accounts.

2) To report any concerns to UNISON’S Pensions Unit for members who can advise accordingly.

3) Increase awareness amongst UNISON activists and scheme representatives that the Pensions Regulator expects employers of DB pension schemes to prioritise deficit repayments over dividend payments.

4) Campaign for Trustees of DB schemes to adopt a full, independent, cost transparency review in order to maximise cost efficiencies and boost returns.

5) Campaign for greater Member Nominated Trustee representation on Trustee Boards.

6) Look to hold employers to account that are maximising profits and dividend distributions at the expense of making decent contributions to their pension scheme.