About the Industry-Wide Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme (IWCSSS)
The IWCSSS was established in 1994 to provide follow on pension benefits for members of the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme (BCSSS) who were transferred to new coal industry employers as a consequence of the de-nationalisation of British Coal. Transferred employees who were BCSSS contributors have statutory rights under which their employers are required to participate in the IWCSSS.
These rights are set out in The Coal Industry (Protected Persons) Pensions Regulations 1994. The same rights apply to former members of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme transferred to new employment who joined the Industry Wide Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme and who, as a consequence of a change of duties with their employer, become eligible to join the IWCSSS.
An employer cannot discontinue its participation in the IWCSSS, other than on being liquidated, whilst there are current or former employees who are members of the Scheme and who have protected rights.
The statutory protection afforded by the Regulations continues where there is a change of employer as long as there is continuity of employment. This means that if a member’s employment transfers to a new employer under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, or as consequence of a company re-structure, the statutory protection continues to apply. Unless the member chooses to give up this protection, the new employer is obliged to participate in the IWCSSS.
In practice the only new entrants to the IWCSSS are former members of the IWMPS who become eligible for IWCSSS membership.
IWCSSS structure and management
In common with most company pension schemes the IWCSSS is established as a trust under which the assets of the Scheme are held separately from those of the sponsoring employers. The management of the Scheme is the responsibility of its trustee board, the Committee of Management, who are required to manage the Scheme in accordance with its Deed and Rules.
The Scheme is sectionalised so that each employer or group of associated employers has a separate sub-fund within the Scheme. Each employer is liable for the benefits accrued by its member employees, but has no liability for benefits accrued in other employer sub-funds. This means that in practice each employer sub-fund effectively operates as a separate pension scheme.