At the beginning of the year the TSSA trained its first wave of Pension Champions. Stimulated by the report made by the Railway Pension Commission and recommendations to move to a career average scheme*, as well as disregarding TSSA recommendations for an industry wide scheme; reps have been busy recruiting pensions champions. As part of the TSSA strategic response to the commission’s report the TSSA has managed to recruit pension champions from outside the rep pool and directly from the membership. July brings the second wave of training with nearly 40 applicants and many more awaiting dates for future training in the year. It is the aim of the TSSA to recruit pension champions in every region for every company, providing us with a network of reps solely placed to organise around what stands to be one of the biggest issues facing our members in 2008.
9-11 June 2008. Bedford Studio, 1 Bedford Avenue, London, WC1 (2 mins walk from Congress House)
This 3-day course is for union officers and staff who are involved in consultation, negotiation and communication with members on pension schemes, in any sector. No previous knowledge of pensions is assumed. Participants are asked to collect essential information about schemes they deal with and use this information on the course. The course is not suitable for officers or representatives from single workplaces. The aims of the course are as follows:
TUC response to Personal Accounts Delivery Authority consultation April 2008
1.1 Our fundamental starting point on this issue is that the costs of the scheme must be kept low.
1.2 In considering the available evidence, our preference is for a contribution charge for personal accounts, where the charge is calculated as a proportion of each contribution made by member.
1.3 We believe a contribution charge should be the model for personal accounts for the following reasons.
e-learning for pension scheme trustees
Here's a great new online toolkit and training programme from the Pensions Regulator. The benefits are simple…
- It’s free – log on now and take a look
- It’s easy to use – based on real-life case studies
- It’s convenient – learn at your own pace
Complete the e-learning programme and you’ll be well on the way to complying with the requirements of the Pensions Act 2004.
Log on now…. www.trusteetoolkit.com
The Bill is the second part of the package of reforms to the UK pensions system set out in the May 2006 Pensions White Paper, Security in retirement: towards a new pension system. The first part of the reforms, taken forward by Pensions Act 2007, included reform of the state pension.
- Proposes a duty on employers to automatically enrol jobholders into, and to contribute to, a qualifying workplace pension scheme
- Introduces the concept of personal accounts which are described as a 'simple, low-cost pension saving scheme' aimed at moderate to low earners who currently do not have access to a workplace pension scheme. This would be overseen by a Personal Accounts Delivery Authority
- Sets out a compliance regime for the new duties on employers.
Other measures relate to: the revaluation of deferred pensions, the additional state pension*, pension credits, pension sharing on divorce or dissolution of civil partnership, the Pension Protection Fund and the Pensions Regulator.
The Government has been concerned that many people are not making enough provision for their retirement. As a result, it published a White Paper in December 2006 setting out proposals for a system of ‘auto-enrolment*’ and a new type of pension scheme called ‘personal accounts’ to help consumers who don’t have access to decent employers’ schemes to save for retirement.
The plans are to introduce auto-enrolment from 2012. This means that all eligible employees will be automatically enrolled into one of the new personal accounts or an employer-sponsored scheme – although you can opt out if you want to.
We recently sent to all Pensions Champions a brief survey asking for information about your activities in supporting colleagues on pensions. Many thanks to those of you who have already sent back information. Early reports confirm that there is the demand for workplace based guidance and that the scope for providing it is considerable. Will those of you who have not yet replied do so as soon as possible please? We are preparing a report on the project’s progress and information from as many of you as possible is vital.
The recently published Pensions Bill (December 2007) will implement the final elements of reform recommended by the Pensions Commission lead by Adair Turner. Key features are:
1. A duty on all employers to automatically enrol employees and workers into, and to contribute to, a qualifying workplace pension scheme.
2. Establishing a compliance regime and introducing new employment rights as part of the compliance regime.
3. Establishing the Personal Accounts pension scheme.
A Consumer Representative Committee (CRC) has been set up in order to ensure that the consumers’ voice is heard when the personal accounts scheme is being set up appointed. The CRC role will be to advise the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) on plans relating to consumers and future members of personal accounts.
Jeannie Drake, Deputy General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union, who is a non-executive director of PADA, will chair the CRC. Additionally, Nigel Stanley, Head of Campaigns and Communications at the TUC, has been appointed to the committee.
Nigel was in no doubt about the potential importance of Personal Accounts to many workers when he said: “Personal Accounts are a victory for union campaigning. For the first time all employers will have to contribute to the pensions of their staff. My job is to make sure that they deliver the best possible pension schemes for the millions without a current work based pension.”
Attached to download is a list of TUC pensions courses planned for the coming year so far. As you will see they are being offered over a wide area and, hopefully, there is going to be one near you. Please pass on the information to anyone you think might be interested.