Telecoms giant BT cannot change the index it uses to calculate pension increases for certain members of its pension scheme, according to a UK court ruling today.The company was seeking to find out whether it would be able to use the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) instead of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to calculate inflation-linked annual pension increases. The CPI is typically lower, so being able to use it would have helped the company deal with a large deficit in its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme.According to BT’s annual report for the 12 months to 31 March 2017, the pension scheme had a shortfall of £7.6bn (€8.6bn). However, a funding update issued by the trustees last year put the deficit at nearly £14bn as of 30 June 2016.The company had agreed in principle with the trustee of the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) to switch its inflation measure to the CPI, but it wanted to check whether this would be deemed compatible with the scheme rules. The High Court today ruled against BT.The company said it was disappointed with the decision.“[W]e will now consider the judgment in detail in order to decide next steps, including the possibility of an appeal,” it added in a statement.According to Slaughter and May, which acted for the BTPS trustees, BT had argued that RPI had “become inappropriate” for the purposes of the relevant scheme rules and that the company could therefore, following consultation with the trustee, switch away from RPI. The trustee said it was in the process of analysing the judgment and would provide a further update once this was done.BTPS is the largest private sector pension scheme in the UK and the 11th largest in Europe, according to IPE’s Top 1000 Pension Funds report.The court ruling comes as BT has just completed a consultation on changes to its main DB and defined contribution (DC) schemes.The company has proposed closing BTPS to future accrual in April, with all members’ contributions moving to the BT Retirement Saving Scheme (BTRSS), the main DC plan. BT would pay additional contributions into the BTRSS for up to 10 years.As an alternative, the company proposed keeping BTPS open on a significantly amended basis, whereby benefits would increase more slowly in future and members would have to contribute more.BT said it was now considering employees’ feedback to the consultation before concluding its review of its pension schemes.Trade union CWU has opposed the proposals. Prospect, another union, said it was in the process of finalising a new pension deal with the company.BT said it was in “constructive discussions” with the BTPS trustee in relation to the triennial valuation, and that it still expected to complete the valuation in the first half of this calendar year.
AFTER the greatest participation and biggest wins, the Barima-Waini team accrued 568 points to inevitably win the Heritage Games Indigenous Swim Meet, which concluded last Saturday at the National Aquatic Centre, in Liliendaal.They were more than 300 points above second-place finishers, Mahaica Berbice, who ended with 242 points, still some way ahead of Region Three, who mustered 178 points.Bringing up the rear were Demerara Mahaica with a mere 12 points.Low participation from the other teams, left the Region One at times with literally no competition, as was the case in the Boys 9-10, where Nelon Lucas simply raced against the clock as he picked up the 25m backstroke (20.67s) and 25m freestyle (16.18s) wins.Region Three picked up crucial points in the Boys 13-14 category, where sole competitor Damion Smith championed the 25m backstroke (24.51s), 25m freestyle (15.69s) and 50m freestyle (39.07s).Overall, however, Region One dominated both the male and female sides.For the Boys, Smith’s results were the only wins that Barima-Waini did not pick up as Nelson Lucas controlled all the Boys 11-12 wins, and Hyde Williams did the same in the Boys 18 and over category. In the Boys’ 15-17 category the spoils were shared between Nyron Ohermuller and Tyeal Campbell.In the 25m and 50m freestyle Barima-Waini made a clean sweep of all three top spots, with Campbell, Obermuller and their team mate Vaughn Fredericks taking first to third, respectively, in both events.On the distaff side, there was also a clean sweep for Region One in the Girls’ Under-17 50m freestyle, where Teshanna Hunter (31.90s), Leona Gonsalves (33.52s), and Anastacia Valenzuela (36.28s), respectively, copped the top spots.Hunter also championed the 25m backstroke 17.38s, while Valenzuela won the 25m freestyle in 15.72 seconds.Top performer for Region 5 was Monia Dunlus, who won the Girls 13-14 25m backstroke (23.95s), 25m freestyle (18.68s), and 50m freestyle (44.74s).
Olympic marathon runner Spiridon ‘Spyros’ Louis will soon be featured on the Greek €2 coin.The decision to honour the athlete was announced by the European Commission, and will mark the 75th anniversary of his death.Winner of the first marathon of the modern Olympic era held in Greece in 1896, Louis’ name is still carried by a number of sports clubs throughout the country, including the main stadium of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex.The coin, designed by artist George Stamatopoulos, shows Louis and the cup he was awarded against the backdrop of the Panathenaic Stadium.An inscription reads “In Memoriam of Spyros Louis” along with the country and year of issue, and the Greek Mint. A total of 750,000 coins will be issued before the end of year. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram