UK - Strike action looked inevitable as workers overwhelmingly voted to reject Royal Mail's pension changes yesterday.
Dave Ward, deputy general secretary, CWU, said: "We're now calling on Royal Mail to stop acting in undue haste and to discuss with the CWU how to solve the pension problem facing the company."
Ward continued: "After the last year of unrest Royal Mail needs to take the workforce along with them in this major change to postal workers' terms and conditions."
A Royal Mail spokesman countered: "Changes to the pension plan took effect on 1 April following the signing last week of a deed of amendment by Royal Mail and the Pension Plan Trustee - and there had already been extensive talks which began last April with the CWU and other employee representatives, with the changes which have now been made, agreed in writing with the CWU last autumn year as part of a wider deal on pay and modernisation."
However, a spokesperson for the Communications Workers Union (CWU) told Global Pensions the employer's consultation process around the issue had been wholly inadequate.
The spokesperson said: "Royal Mail ran the consultation over the Christmas period when many people were away and they refused to extend it so few workers were able to attend."
She continued: "With such a huge change to pensions benefits there is understandably strong feeling amongst staff."
Under the amended proposals all pension benefits earned before 1 April 2008 will be protected and linked to final salary at the time of retirement.
Employees can continue to take their pension on reaching 60 but the normal retirement age will increase to 65 from 1 April 2010. It will be possible to draw a pension at the age of 60 and continue working while still contributing into the pension plan until the maximum level of contributions has been reached.
From 1 April 2008, benefits building up for employee members of the plan will be earned on a career salary basis and plan will be closed to new members.
A new defined contribution scheme will be launched in April 2009 and new recruits joining the company after 31 March 2008 will be able to join it after they have worked for the company for a year.
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