GMB members concerns over missing Thames Ambulance pension payments

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GMB, the union for staff working in the ambulance service, will continue to question Thames Ambulance over concerns that they have potentially failed to make Employer and Employee pension contributions into staffs’ relevant pension schemes since the transfer from South East Coast Ambulance service (SECAmb).

Staff were told in October 2016 by Thames Ambulance that they had been accepted and granted directions by the NHS Pensions Agency to continue pension payments into their individual NHS schemes.

GMB members enquiries to both NHS Pensions and/or relevant NEST schemes has resulted in them being informed that they have received no payments from their employer including the employees own contributions, and in the case of NEST Thames have been reported for late payment of pension contributions. Thames Ambulance is not satisfying their legal requirement to pass the payments on.

Gary Palmer GMB Organiser said,

“Members are extremely worried that pensions have not been paid. Especially, in light of the fact that their ex-SECAmb colleagues, who also TUPE’d at the same time to another Coperforma contractor, VM Langford’s, and then subsequently to Docklands Medical Services, saw their pension contributions disappear along with the employer.

“If this is the case then both long standing NHS pensions for those that TUPE’d in as well as those who have registered with the governments NEST pension scheme see their pensions at risk. After GMB advice, staff are reporting Thames Ambulance to the Pensions Advisory Service in an attempt to seek assistance in resolving this worrying failure by the company.

“It’s fast approaching 12 months and no acceptance into a pension scheme and beginning payments in to it should take that long to arrange. They announced in October that contributions would be paid into staffs’ pensions, including all payments already deducted. But they are just not taking staff concerns seriously and the response that a communication team will send something out shortly is unacceptable.

“GMB demand, on behalf of their members, to know where these monies are if not in the correct pension pots of hard working PTS Ambulance staff. The word coming back from the relevant pensions agency is that it’s not been paid, so Thames where is it?

“I certainly don’t want to find it either supporting Thames as an organisation through a financial lean period or that it’s been forgotten about in a Thames Ambulance office draw of some kind.

“This is member’s pension money and as such it needs to be in their pension schemes. No excuses and no further delay are acceptable. Thames need to explain to the satisfaction of each member that all payment contributions are correct and are exactly where they are meant to be, in the individuals pension scheme and to do so immediately.

“GMB will seek to chase Thames, legally and industrially if needs be until we are certain no payments remain outstanding to our members.

“Our members at Thames, like those at Docklands, simply can’t wait for the whole failed PTS privatisation nightmare to end when they finally get their chance to transfer back into the NHS with South Central Ambulance Service.”

Contact: Gary Palmer on 07552 165950; Paul Maloney on 07801 343839 or Michelle Gordon on 07866 369259

Notes to editors

1 GMB press release dated 7 November 2016

2 GMB press release dated 1 November 2016

3 GMB press release dated 13 October 2016

4 GMB press release dated 5 October 2016

5 GMB press release dated 27 September 2016

Directors of Coperforma are:
Michael Clayton
Ella Clayton
Peter Harris
John Porter

Shareholders are:
Seabourn Ltd –                  36.73%
Michael Clayton –             31.64%
Ella Clayton –                      31.64%
Seabourn Ltd, along with Pentarn Management Ltd and John Porter, are all shareholders in another investment holding company, i-spire Ltd of which Mr Porter is the ‘ultimate controlling party.’ I-spire Corporation Ltd, a subsidiary company of i-spire Ltd, is incorporated in Bermuda.

Another shareholder is Panama incorporated company, Toxford Corporation, an investment company owned by a trust of which Mr Porter is one of the beneficiaries.

John Porter is a director of Guernsey registered Seabourn Ltd alongside British Virgin Islands entity S.O. Clover Management Ltd.

Shirley Porter was the conservative leader of Westminster City Council during the homes for votes scandal, playing a key role in the scheme that sold off council homes to potential conservative voters in marginal wards. In 2006, the Independent reported that she was ‘found to have forced 122 homeless families likely to vote Labour out of eight marginal seats, forcing them instead to live in tower blocks that the council knew to be contaminated with asbestos.’ She was found guilty of corruption and after a 7 year inquiry of ‘wilful misconduct and gerrymandering’ and ordered to pay back £12.3m, a fraction of the total cost of the corruption to the council.