Usdaw “disappointed” at Morrisons’ pension move

Usdaw has expressed disappointment that Morrisons has not taken on board counter proposals to changes the company are making to the pension scheme.

Staff were being briefed yesterday after the end of the consultation period on changes to the Retirement Saver pension.

The changes come into effect on Monday and will affect 36,000 staff. Members of the Retirement Saver pension scheme will be automatically moved across to the Personal Retirement Scheme at the default contribution rate of 2%. Staff can opt to pay 5% and get a higher company contribution.

Usdaw national officer Joanne McGuinness said: “We are extremely disappointed that Morrisons did not take up any of our counter proposals made during the recent pension consultation, some of which we believe could have been implemented with little impact to the business.

“In the first instance we wanted the company to shelve their changes and review at the next valuation in April 2019, given that the Plan is currently in a strong funding position and the contribution levels are clearly affordable. We did accept that if the investment returns do start to falter in the future, this could impact on the business. However, there are no indications that this will happen and in any case the trustees will have mechanisms in place to deal with it.

“If the company decided they would not step back from what we regard as unnecessary changes, we made counter proposals including making the ‘step up’ the default option and increasing the company’s contributions to help attract and retain staff across all levels, alongside other more technical changes.

“We are awaiting a formal response to our counter proposals and will now work with our pensions department to ensure our members have all the information they need to make any choices regarding their pension.”

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