UK - Unions claim workers at chemical giant Rhodia are the first in Britain to strike over the closure of their final salary scheme to new members.
Some 600 workers walked out on Friday bringing production to a standstill at plants in Oldbury in the West Midlands and Widnes in Merseyside.
The GMB and Amicus unions said further strike action was planned at the plants in August and September.
GMB general secretary Kevin Curran said: “GMB members know that closing the scheme to new entrants puts the long-term viability of the scheme at risk.
“Their security in retirement is being put in jeopardy by the decisions being made by the company now.”
The unions say this is the first time British industrial workers have walked out to defend pensions. Previously, strike threats at BAe Systems and Rolls Royce forced both firms to back down over proposed benefit reductions.
Rhodia operations director John Scott commented: “We’re disappointed the unions are taking this action.
“But everyone knows the cost of pensions has exploded – if we carry on accepting open-ended pension commitments for new staff then we put the future of the company at risk and we won’t be paying any wages, let alone any pensions, to new recruits.”
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