O2 Pension Review – Transfer Principles

As you are aware discussions have been ongoing with O2 in an attempt to make a collective agreement on Transfer of Principles which will provide protection for those individuals that are subject to forthcoming TUPE’s, in particular off protection for future pension provision.

Whilst those discussions have been ongoing there are members that have contacted the union, who currently work in areas where potential TUPE’s may occur, seeking advice as to what option they should make in relation to the pension review.  

As a result of this further discussions have taken place on this matter.

Within the recent O2 FAQ on TUPE there is a question relating to DB members which O2 intend to issue as follows:

Q.    I am currently at risk of being outsourced – can I review my option choice once I have some more certainty?
A.    Where consultation on a transfer has begun in 2011 we would aim to agree a level of Pension provision aligned to option 3 of the current pension review for any affected employee currently in section 2 or 3 of the Pensions scheme. Such arrangements would have to be agreed on a project by project basis with the new employer and the employee representatives taking account of the prevailing circumstances at the time of consultation and commercial negotiation. This approach would currently only apply to transfers where consultation is initiated in 2011. We would review these arrangements beyond this time to assess whether such an approach was necessary and appropriate. We have discussed this approach with employee representatives and are in ongoing dialogue with them.

O2 have stated that the issue of pension transfer arrangements for any TUPE’s between now and the end of the year is still a very moot point and therefore they intend to advise individuals that it would be the company’s intention to offer a pension approach no less beneficial than option 3 if people transfer before the end of the year.

It is the view of the CWU that an assurance which is limited to this year will not allay the concern and uncertainty many of our members have due to the fact that all the TUPE and other transfer timescales are slipping and it is anticipated that many of these TUPE’s will take place next year.  

It is the view of the CWU that any agreement should not be limited to this year.

Following further representations the company has now responded stating that they will review these arrangements beyond this time to assess whether such an approach is necessary and appropriate. 

Further correspondence received from the company confirms that:

“The management of any TUPE proposals in the future will be dealt with separately from the Pension plan changes agreed to here, based on the circumstances that prevail at that time and we can confirm that the Company will not use any future TUPE projects for the purposes of making changes to the membership of the Pension plan”.

We are certainly very able and willing to reassure you of our intended commitment once again to engage with you as necessary moving forward on this matter and hope that you agree with our approach in this regard.

The CWU has written to the company expressing our disappointment that we are unable at this point to reach a collective agreement on this matter.

This issue still remains a priority to the CWU and we will continue to press the company to secure an agreement that will provide some long assurances as far as future pension provision is concerned.

All CWU briefing newsletters can be found, along with contact details to your CWU representative, at http://www.cwu.org/24120/o2.html.

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