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Birmingham airport agrees to keep final salary pension scheme

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UK - Birmingham International airport has agreed to retain a 380-member final salary pension scheme despite a pension deficit of £26m (€30.3m).

The airport - which is 48.2% owned by the CA$96.4bn (€71.8bn) Ontario Teachers Pension Plan - has now agreed to keep the scheme in a reversal of last April's announcement that it would close the scheme because of the deficit.

A ballot held last month as part of the subsequent statutory consultation process presented a compromise proposal to scheme members that will retain the scheme, but cut future-service benefits by 30%.

In a letter recommending the compromise to members, union representatives said: "Considering the airport's determination to end the scheme from the outset of the talks, it is the best deal that can be achieved through negotiation."

The union representing the employees in negotiations did not respond to requests for an interview. However, despite a loss to members in terms of accruals, a union official said "the main objective" had been to retain the scheme.

A spokesman for Birmingham airport declined to be interviewed, but said in a written statement: "We can confirm there has been acceptance by staff for the company's proposals for pension provision. Having received strong support in this ballot, we will continue to work closely with staff and unions as we move the process forward."

The airport also operates a defined contribution scheme.

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