UK – A strike by gas engineers over plans to close their final salary pensions scheme has had a “solid” response, according to the GMB union.
"Reports from all around the country are that the strike by GMB gas engineers is very solid - the only people working are those on agreed emergency duties,” said Brian Strutton, the GMB’s national secretary for British Gas. The strike was taking place on a reasonably mild day, he added.
“GMB urges British Gas to stop their unilateral closing of the pension fund to new starters and await the outcome of the next actuarial valuation of the pension fund which is due in little more that 12 months time.
“This would be in line with their agreement of two years ago when our members agreed to increase their contributions to the fund to keep it open to new starters. This strike demonstrates that employers will not get away with unilaterally reneging on agreements with their employees."
Four more days of strike action are scheduled for later this month and into January.
The dispute is over British Gas’s decision to close its final salary pension scheme to new entrants.
Company management was quoted at the weekend as saying it was "disappointed and frustrated" after a breakdown in talks.
Parent company Centrica has said its new pension package is one of the best on the market.
According to the firm’s 2004 annual report, the £466m Centrica Engineers’ Pension Scheme was 104% funded.
Management are members of the final salary Centrica Management Pension Scheme, which allows retirement at 60. Chief executive Sir Roy Gardner had a pension transfer value of £6.1m