Rail unions fight pensions windfall

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The Independent Online
Unions have called on the pensions ombudsman to stop a pounds 500m rail pensions surplus being distributed to private rail companies.

The move came as the Government faced having to pay back pounds 168m taken from the pension fund of bus workers just before privatisation of the National Bus Company in 1990.

Richard Rosser, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said the unions would try any way possible to prevent the privatised rail companies from benefiting from the surplus. "They stand to make a small jackpot out of these funds and yet they contributed nothing towards them," he said.

Sir George Young, Secretary of State for Transport, defended the right of companies to claim the surpluses. "It is perfectly in order for any surplus to be shared between members and employers," he said. Christian Wolmar