UK – Railways Pensions Management, the manager of the pension assets for the UK rail industry, is keeping its own counsel on the current pension dispute in the rail industry.

“Definitely not,” said a Railpen spokeswoman when asked if she would be able to comment on planned industrial action on the railways over pensions.

She added: “As trustees it really is not their patch nor something they would want to comment on for obvious reasons.”

Members of the RMT union at UK rail infrastructure firm Network Rail last week voted to take industrial action over pensions, travel concessions and pay. The decision follows the company’s decision to close the Network Rail section of the Railways Pension Scheme to new members.

The union said: “Network Rail has closed its final-salary pension scheme to new members and imposed an inferior and cheaper money-purchase scheme on new starters.”

Network Rail said it has ensured that the final salary scheme was “fully protected” for existing employees. And it said the new scheme is “the best defined contributions scheme in the industry, and one of the best in the market”.

Railpen, which organises the pension assets for around 100 railway employers and over 300,000 members, totalling around 12 billion pounds (18 billion euros), last week named Chris Hitchen as chief executive to take over from Peter Murray.