British factory strikes over pension change

UK- Midlands-based car battery factory, Yuasa Automotive Batteries, has become the fourth UK firm this year to announce the closure of its final salary scheme to current employees, fuelling a day-long strike from its employees.

Yuasa plans to wind up the £48m pension fund, which was already closed to new members in 1994, and to replacing it with a defined contribution scheme. Difficult economic conditions are blamed for the firm’s inability to sustain pensions benefits and deficits in the pension scheme.

Says Eric McDonald, regional industrial organiser of the T&G, the transport and general workers’ union, which represents Yuasa’s employees: “our members have given the company many years of loyal service, paying into a pension scheme that all will rely on to provide for them in their retirement. Their loyalty has been totally disregarded by this announcement to end the final salary scheme. The T&G will continue to do everything possible to see its reinstatement."

Strike action will take place every Wednesday until the dispute is settled, bringing production at the company to a halt.

Says a spokesman at the T&G: the Union has protested through normal bargaining agendas, but it has not resolved the matter. Industrial action, therefore, is the last resort.”

Yuasa joins food retailer Iceland, financial service provider Ernst & Young, and Transport Logistics company Axial in the list of UK companies to close their final salary schemes to current employees this year.

A spokesperson for Yuasa was unavailable for comment.

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