About the Industry-Wide Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme
The IWMPS was established in 1994 to provide follow on pension benefits for members of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS) who were transferred to new coal industry employers as a consequence of the de-nationalisation of British Coal. Transferred employees who were MPS contributors have statutory rights under which their employers are required to participate in the IWMPS.
These rights are set out in The Coal Industry (Protected Persons) Pensions Regulations 1994.
An employer cannot discontinue its participation in the IWMPS, 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 IWMPS.
In practice the only new entrants to the IWMPS are former members of the IWCSSS who become eligible for IWMPS membership.
IWMPS structure and management
In common with most company pension schemes the IWMPS 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.