Fact Service (May 2011)

Issue 21

Another final salary pension scheme goes

The US conglomerate General Electric (GE) has announced the closure of its final salary pension scheme to new entrants — new members will now go into a new defined contribution scheme — and the introduction of a flexible benefits package.

The company has launched a 90-day consultation with the unions.

Ian Waddell, national officer for aerospace and shipbuilding at the general union Unite, said: “Employees in the UK will struggle to see why such a rich company should make such punitive changes to its pension scheme. There can be no other reason than the transfer of risk from the company to the employees, who will now have to gamble on their pension being enough to see them through old age.

“These changes will be a bolt from the blue for our members and we will be demanding an explanation from GE for its strategy so that we can negotiate a better deal for our members on pensions. Flexible benefits will do little to sugar this particularly bitter pill.”

There are around 18,000 UK employees in GE businesses, such as aviation, financial services, energy, transport and logistics and healthcare. Unite members work on aerospace products, including avionics, instruments and propellers, supplying the civil and military aerospace industries in the UK and worldwide.



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