Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Inflation Rates Circular

Circular No. NP/071/11/MC

12th April 2011


Dear Colleagues,

Inflation Rates Circular

The March rates of RPI and CPI were published by the Office for National Statistics on the 12th April 2011. The next publication date is the 17th May 2011.

March 2011 retail prices index rate is 5.3%.This is down from 5.5% in February. The Government’s preferred measure of inflation, CPI, is at 4%, down from 4.4% in February.

By far the largest downward pressure to the change in inflation came from food and non-alcoholic beverages where prices, overall, fell by 1.4 per cent between February and March this year compared with a rise of 0.3 per cent between the same two months a year ago. The 1.4 per cent this year was a record fall for a February to March period. The downward effects were widespread and reflected supermarket led sales this year. The most notable contributions came from fruit where prices fell by 4.7 per cent this year (also a record February to March movement) but rose by 0.7 per cent a year ago, and bread and cereals where prices fell by a record 2.6 per cent this year compared with a fall of 0.2 per cent a year ago.
There were also large downward pressures from:

  • recreation and culture, principally from games, toys and hobbies (particularly computer games), recording media and data processing equipment
  • air transport, where fares rose by less than a year ago, particularly on European routes

The largest upward pressures to the change in inflation came from:

  • housing and household services: prices, overall, rose by 0.4 per cent between February and March this year compared with 0.1 per cent between the same two months a year ago. The main upward effect came from domestic heating costs where average electricity and gas bills rose this year but were unchanged a year ago
  • purchase of vehicles, where prices rose this year but fell a year ago, particularly for second-hand cars

In pay submissions the RMT will continue to emphasise that your financial commitments have increased at a much greater rate than inflation and your living standards have suffered as a result.

Yours sincerely,


Bob Crow

General Secretary

Thursday, 7 April 2011

7th April 2011 My ref: EO/33



Circular No. NP/067/11

Dear Colleague,


As from 6th April 2011 the law that allowed employers to retire employees at age 65 (the default retirement age) without having to explain why is being phased out. When discrimination on the grounds of age was made unlawful in certain circumstances in 2006, a provision of the legislation enabled employers to retire employees at age 65 without having to explain why, providing they carried out a certain procedure, which allowed for employees to request to work beyond retirement. In future, employees in theory will be able to choose when they want to retire. If the employer forces someone to retire, they will have to justify the decision at an Employment Tribunal if challenged by the employee.

Transitional arrangements have now been set out after considerable confusion caused by legislative drafting errors by the ConDem Government. If an employer retires someone because they are 65 then both the following must apply:-

  1. The notice of retirement must have been given to the employee before 6th April 2011.
  1. The employee must be aged 65 or over (or the employer’s retirement age, if that is higher) by 30th September 2011.
  1. If the member has been given this notice, they still have the right to request to work beyond that retirement date and the employer must consider the request as set out in The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. (This procedure is readily available from Head Office.)

Any dismissal on the grounds of retirement notified from 6th April on, if not objectively justified by the employer, will amount to unlawful age discrimination under Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010.

Whilst employees may now have the right to remain in work after age 65, the change in legislation no longer requires employers to make arrangements for or provide access to the provision of insurance or related financial services to those over 65 or state pension age, whichever is the greater.

The abolition of the default retirement age may be welcome by some but we need to ensure that our members can retire with dignity and at a time of their choosing. We do not want a culture where it becomes acceptable to work until you drop.

Yours sincerely,



General Secretary

Direct Line: 020-7529 8821

Direct Fax: 020-7529 8808