Dispute looms with Nestle over pensions ‘betrayal’ - Wisbech workers will be hit by changes

Nestle Purina in Wisbech

Nestle Purina in Wisbech - Credit: Archant

Workers at a Wisbech pet food factory could take action if changes to their pensions go ahead.

GMB and Unite unions both accused Nestle of acting in ‘bad faith’ after it announced plans to close its career average pension scheme.

The move will unpick an agreement over pensions introduced in 2010.

Nestle wants to introduce a defined contribution or ‘money purchase’ scheme.

If the proposals go ahead the career average scheme will be closed to new entrants from next year.

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Unions say that the changes will affect workers making Nestle products across the UK.

Stuart Fegan, GMB national officer, said: “We urge Nestle to think again on these proposals as we fear that the UK workforce will not accept these changes willingly.

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“Strike action with all its consequences for Nestle’s corporate brand if these proposals are implemented, looms large across Nestle in the UK at present.”

Julia Long, Unite national officer, said: “Many loyal workers will feel led up the garden path and see these changes as an act of betrayal. Five years ago they agreed to pension changes in good faith on the understanding that their pension would be secure for the future.

“Now Nestle is tearing up their contracts with their future with many workers facing being worse off in retirement. We will not stand by and let that happen.”

Nestle announced the proposed changes in a statement issued last Thursday.

They said the “costs and risks of providing a defined benefit scheme have continued to increase substantially in recent years.

“With regret the company is therefore proposing its closure and replacement with one of the most attractive defined contribution schemes available.

“The company will now enter into consultation with employees and trade unions and will give careful consideration to their response before any final decision is made.”

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