22 Nov

Pension Update: Wednesday 22nd November

The formal 60-day Consultation Period instigated by British Airways with regards to closing the current pension schemes (NAPS and BARP) ended on Monday.

There now follows a period of time when BA “considers” the views put forward via the Trade Union and via the 4,000 emails and calls they received from concerned employees across the airline.

Unite remain focused on securing the best possible negotiated deal for members.

Pensions, as we know, are a complex subject and everyone’s situation, aspirations and priorities are different. We are all on varying salaries and at different stages in our careers. Whether you are in NAPS or BARP rest assured that we are focused entirely on finding a negotiated solution that we believe is at least worthy of your consideration. This involves a complex balance of compensation, transitional arrangements and future pension accrual for NAPS members and the aspiration to improve the position for current BARP scheme members. 

We are not yet at that point, progress has been made but changes that affect 35,000 people with 35,000 unique circumstances is a massive undertaking and undoubtedly the single biggest item of “change” that we have ever faced. It is not easy, far from it but nor is it a task, that no matter how difficult, we can shy away from. 

We need to protect all our members as much as we possibly can. 

A skeleton proposal has been reached and this is being discussed by the specialist pension reps from each area and each Union, this will then be discussed with reps from their respective areas and resulting feedback assessed. 

The scope of the proposal is now fairly fixed in that BA have stated they are not prepared to build further cost into the changes but there will undoubtedly be detail and clarity needed that will stem from our representatives’ discussions and a consensus as to next steps, before any offer is put forward for members’ consideration. 

When we are ready and we will not be rushed in to doing so, we will let you know. BA will also then release an improved offer, alongside new information and update the pension modellers to enable people to make an accurate decision on the impact of their pension. 

If, and we stress if we reach a position that a proposal is put to members for a ballot, we urge you to take the time to examine the proposals carefully and what they will mean to you. This is not a time for merely asking your colleagues in the restroom, canteen, galley or BA one bus what they plan to do! 

Everyone’s circumstances will be different and because of that you will need to decide if the proposal is a deal you can live with, or reject it and face the consequences that rejection may bring. 

There is no doubt that BARP members will find their pension improved under the proposals, possibly not to the level that everyone would wish, but they will be improved. 

NAPS members will not be in the same situation. However, the new pension arrangements for future service (remember past service is unaffected) will also have a degree of flexibility which together with the compensation and transitional arrangements may be more beneficial than members expect. 

You will have options and decisions to make. 

Everyone’s personal situation cannot be taken into account within the proposals, BUT by using the modeller (correctly!) you will be able to accurately gauge the effects on your retirement income of the differing options and will of course make your decision upon that. 

There has been a question mark over the deficit and the future of the pension schemes for some time. However, keeping NAPS open would come at a cost (significant increased contributions and / or reduced accrual rate) that would be prohibitive to most members, as per our commitment to you, we have worked long and hard to try and find a potential solution. 

If we can iron out the necessary wrinkles we should be in a position to share that with you within the next 14 days or so. 

Thank you for your support and patience during this difficult and uncertain period of time. 

Pensions

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