Workers to vote on strike action
By Will Grahame-ClarkeANGRY workers will vote on strike action after their pensions row with bosses reached a stalemate.The Transport and General Workers Union announced it would ballot members on strike action after Grampian Foods refused to consider a compromise pension option.
By Will Grahame-Clarke
ANGRY workers will vote on strike action after their pensions row with bosses reached a stalemate.
The Transport and General Workers Union announced it would ballot members on strike action after Grampian Foods refused to consider a compromise pension option.
It has claimed the firm hoped to make the changes to its pension final salary scheme to save money before it was floated on the stock market, but this has been denied by Grampian bosses.
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The sites affected by the industrial action ballot include Haverhill, where it is a major employer in the town.
Chris Kaufman, union national secretary, said: “Members have felt pressurised into signing away their rights to remain in the final salary scheme without the consultation they feel is necessary.
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“The pension scheme changes have been driven by Grampian's desire to cut costs in preparation for flotation of the company on the stock market. Yet the existing scheme represents less than 1% of their labour bill.
“The directors are benefiting from generous dividends, but they are not acting in the best interests of our members.
“It is unsurprising that members feel there is no option but to press ahead with a ballot for industrial action. They are acting to protect their futures for themselves and their families.”
A spokesman for Grampian Foods defended the length of time the workers had had to consider the proposals.
He said: “Following over 12 months' consultation concerning the new pension arrangements the changes to the scheme took place on the August, 19.
“The new pension arrangement is in line with that enjoyed by the majority of Grampian's workforce. The two other recognised unions are not proposing to take any industrial action against the company.
“They have recognised the need, albeit with some reluctance for its members, that changes are needed to manage the company's final salary pension scheme deficit.
“The company has a loyal and supportive workforce and the feedback to date from colleagues is that there is little support for the T and G ballot.
“Grampian remains committed to providing a pension scheme for all its employees to ensure their financial security at retirement.”