UK - New rules forcing employers to consult before making major scheme changes are "pointless" and "absurd" without negotiation rights, unions say.
The government has amended the Pensions Bill to ensure employers discuss scheme changes - such as closing a plan to new entrants or increasing contributions - with existing members and unions.
However, the employers can effectively ignore any of the concerns raised from the consultation and have full powers to go ahead with the changes.
The Trades Union Congress, which pushed for the new rights, is furious employers will not be forced to negotiate as part of the consultation.
Pensions policy officer Michelle Lewis said: “Consultation on its own is pointless. Involving staff and their representatives in decision-making leads to higher morale and greater support for workplace change.”
However, NAPF spokesman Andy Fleming said: “It is currently best practice to consult with members before making changes. However, we agree with this amendment because employers should not be compelled to go along with union demands.
“Employers are not only providing a pension, they are providing a job as well, so if costs go up an employee could lose both.”
Pensions minister Baroness Hollis said she had consulted and listened to both sides of the industry and come up with a “workable balance” and firms that fail to consult face fines of up to £50,000.
A full list of decisions that will require consultation will be detailed in Pensions Bill regulations.
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