UK - Anglian Water is to hold urgent talks with union representatives today (Thursday) in a bid to avert strike action over pensions.
The company requested the meeting with the GMB union after 90% of its staff voted in favour of industrial action over a plan to remove outsourced workers from the final salary scheme.
The GMB has agreed to delay strike action until after April 30 to give the firm time to rethink the proposal, which would see about half of its 4200 staff removed from the Anglian Water Group Pension Scheme.
Anglian – the largest water company in England and Wales – wants outsourced workers to switch to a defined contribution arrangement. This coincides with plans to outsource 1000 of its workers in the next three years.
GMB officer Glenn Holdom said the union would stand firm on its pledge to protect member benefits. He said: “We want a complete suspension of the outsourcing programme. If workers must be outsourced they should retain their final salary benefits.”
Anglian chief executive Roy Pointer said: “We are disappointed to have reached the possibility of industrial action. However, we are keen to find a mutually acceptable solution to the outstanding issues that suits our employees and the company.”
In July 2002 Pointer said: “Even if employees are outsourced, their new employer will be required to continue to make payments into the existing Anglian Water scheme. This goes beyond legal requirements.”
Anglian closed the scheme to new entrants in March 2002 when it was 110% funded.
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