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Transport Commission (Pensions Scheme)

Volume 529: debated on Wednesday 7 July 1954

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57.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will now make a statement about the establishment of a pension scheme for wages grades employed by the British Transport Commission.

58.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether the details of the new pension scheme for railway wage grades have yet been agreed by the British Transport Commission and the trade unions; and whether he will make the full scheme available to hon. Members at the earliest possible moment.

I am very glad to inform the House that, following complete agreement between the British Transport Commission and the trade unions upon the terms of a pension scheme for male wages grades, I have made Regulations establishing this scheme as from 1st October next. These Regulations have been laid before Parliament today and copies will be available to hon. Members. The scheme provides a pension of 30s. a week at 65 after 40 years' membership, with a further 10s. for certain senior grades. With permission, I will circulate a summary of the main provisions in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his statement will give great satisfaction to all those concerned?

Will the Minister take note of the fact that it is not until we get public ownership of the transport industry that it is possible to get a pensions scheme for wages grades?

I take notice of the fact that nothing happened in the six years of Socialist Government.

Following is the Summary:

The Scheme applies to British Transport Commission male wages grade staff in the service of British Railways, the Docks and Inland Waterways, the Hotels and Catering Services, the London Transport Executive, and at Headquarters.

The Scheme, which commences on 1st October, 1954, is in two parts: Section A—the main scheme—and Section B—additional pension for certain senior grades.

Membership: Compulsory for new entrants to the service; optional for existing employees.

Persons eligible: Section A—new entrants—appointed whole-time employees aged 21 to 45 after 12 months' service. Existing staff will have a six-months' option to join, if they have completed or can complete 20 years' service by age 65. Section B—persons joining Section A who are employed in the senior grades listed in the First Schedule to the Scheme.

Members' Contributions: Section A—1s. 8d. a week for entrant at age 21 rising to 2s. 5d. for entrant at age 54 or over. Section B—additional contribution from 8d. to 11d. a week according to age at entry.

Minimum pensionable age: 65.

Pension at minimum pensionable age: Section A—30s. a week after 40 years' membership, diminished proportionately for shorter membership. Section B—additional 10s. a week after 35 years' membership of Section B, diminished proportionately for shorter membership.

Back-service credit: Existing employees aged 52 and over joining Section A will be given credit (at the cost of the Commission) to secure a minimum pension of 9s. 9d. a week at age 65.

Deferred retirement: Normal pension increased by 1/15th of Section A pension and 1/10th of Section B pension for each year's service after 65 up to a maximum of 5 increases.

Ill-health retirement: After 10 years' membership, proportionate pension based on years of membership; under 10 years' membership, return of contributions with interest.

Death benefit: Lump sum payment representing approximately return of member's contributions with compound interest.

Transfers: A transfer value will be paid to the salaried staff scheme when a member of the wages grade scheme is promoted and enters the salaried staff scheme. A transfer value will also be paid where a member with 10 years' membership leaves the Commission's service and enters other employment in respect of which there are reciprocal arrangements for transfer of pension rights. There is provision for acceptance of transfer values from other schemes and for the employees concerned to enter the Commission's scheme with waiver of age limit.

Administration: The Scheme will be administered by a Central Committee of 20 persons, 10 appointed by the Commission and 10 nominated by the Trade Unions.

Review: In the event of changes in National Insurance pension conditions the Commission are to review the Scheme and if necessary request the Minister to amend the rules.

Set-off of Existing Wages Grades Pension Rights: Any benefits which the Commission are at present liable to provide under existing wages grade schemes or customary practice for existing staff who join the new Scheme will be set off against the Commission's share of the benefits due to those persons under the new Scheme.

Division of Cost: Apart from the cost of back service credit, which is borne by the Commission, benefits are provided as to one-half by the employee's contributions and as to one-half by the Commission. The cost of administration will be borne by the Commission.