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Royal Mail pensioners fear scheme wind-up

UK – Pensioners of the Royal Mail pension scheme, which is £2.5bn (€3.6bn) in deficit, have voiced concerns about a possible closure or wind-up of the fund.

And they are demanding answers as to why the scheme – which they see as being in a “perilous state” – has moved from a healthy surplus to a deficit in six years.

“This conference views with alarm the perilous state of the Post Office fund, and calls on the national executive to ask are the trustees aware of any plans by Royal Mail to close or wind up the Pension Plan and/or are they aware of any plans to privatise Royal Mail?” states a motion carried at the annual conference of the National Federation of Royal Mail and BT Pensioniers.

It calls for trustees to “take all appropriate action” to prevent this and for a report be placed before members.

Another motion states: “What are the main reasons for the pension plan moving from a healthy surplus to a significant deficit (£2.5bn) over the last six years?

“What was the actuarial advice on how this deficit should be eliminated? What was agreed between the trustees and Royal Mail on how it should be eliminated?”

Watson Wyatt advises Royal Mail on pension and actuarial matters but a spokesman at the consulting firm said he couldn't comment on specific client issues.

Neither the Royal Mail corporate press office nor Gerry Degaute, chief executive of Royal Mail Pensions Trustees Ltd., responded to calls and emails.

The pensioners’ fears come amid press reports that the company’s management is proposing a partial privatisation at the former postal monopoly.

The company disclosed the multi-billion-pound funding deficit earlier this month, saying it was hit by an increase in liabilities stemming from lower discount rates, weaker markets and demographic changes.

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