UK - High street retailer WHSmith is to hold talks with staff and unions over plugging a £151m deficit in its closed final salary scheme.
The newspaper and book giant has pledged to increase its contributions to the scheme to £42m this year and is looking at the option of asking staff to help fund costs. The scheme – which has been closed to new joiners since 1995 – is currently non-contributory.
A WHSmith spokeswoman said: “There is a deficit and we do have to look at how we manage that.
“The company has increased its own contributions during the year and in January we will be consulting staff and unions on the next step.”
She was unable to comment on the specific options being considered.
Reports have suggested that some WHSmith workers will be asked to contribute around 2% of pensionable pay, while others – particularly middle-ranking staff – may have to pay more. Staff currently do not have to contribute.
The group – which has almost 700 stores generating annual sales of about £1.5bn – said strong competition from supermarket rivals had led to a sharp drop in full year profits.
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