UNISON is urging members working for National Grid to vote yes when they are balloted on new pay and pension offers from the company next month.
Members and branches are being briefed ahead of the ballots, which will take place between 3 and 14 February.
The pay offer from the company is for:
- a 3.2% pay rise, backdated to July 2013;
- a further four years of pay rises in line with the RPI inflation rate;
- four years pay protection;
- improvements to the defined contribution pension scheme.
The union has secured a number of concessions on changes to the definded benefit pension schemes including:
- keeping a final-salary scheme for future service in both the gas and electricity schemes;
- a final-salary pension cap of 3% for future service only, rather than the 2% on futureand past service wanted by the company;
- protection for past service and accrued benefits, including the link to final salary;
- no contribution increase;
- keeping the right of members of the electricity scheme to have their final salary based on the best year of the past 10.
“The two defined-benefit pensions schemes will remain some of the best in the industry and, through the specific actions of UNISON, the defined contribution scheme will also be improved,” says UNISON national officer Matthew Lay.
The pension changes and pay offer follow “a very long-drawn out set of negotiations with a huge amount of ground covered,” he added.
In both cases, the deal that members are being asked to vote in is seen by UNISON and other unions as the best that can be achieved by negoation.
“UNISON is looking for a clear ‘yes’ vote,” added Mr Lay.
“For the deal to go through, both pay and pensions offers need to be accepted by members. If they are rejected, it is possible the company will remove them, leaving members – we believe – in a very much worse position.”