More than 400 Unite members at Ardagh Glass’s Barnsley, UK site are to vote on whether they wish to strike and/or take industrial action on management plans to change their pension scheme.
The company wants to change the DBS (defined benefits scheme) which currently sees the company contribute 25.9% and individual workers three, six or nine per cent, to a defined contributions (DC) scheme.
The changes have been rejected by two previous ballots but management wants to auto-enrol employees from 1 October 2015.
Unite deputy regional secretary Tas Sangha said the proposed scheme would be ‘vastly inferior’ to the current one and predicted ‘pensioner poverty’ for the employees when they retire. Workers would pay four per cent of their salaries, which would be matched by the company, saving it about £3m a year, according to Sangha.
“The company has already admitted that the contribution rate may be as high as 60% to the DC scheme if you wanted to get the same benefits as those now offered by the DBS”.
He said there is no way that members can bridge the enormous gap to give them a decent retirement income – and hence the strike ballot.
The scheme’s deficit at its last validation in April 2014 was £11.9m, which was ‘perfectly sustainable,’ he said.
The strike ballot will run from July 21 to August 18 ahead of the potential changes coming into force from October.
The other Ardagh UK sites are covered by a different insurance scheme, and not affected by the proposed changes.