Royal Mail in fresh talks to resolve dispute over pensions

Royal Mail is making a fresh proposal on pensions in a move aimed at resolving a dispute with its workers.  Picture; PA

Royal Mail is making a fresh proposal on pensions in a move aimed at resolving a dispute with its workers. Picture; PA

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Royal Mail is making a fresh proposal on pensions in a move aimed at resolving a dispute with its workers.

The Communication Workers Union is threatening industrial action after the company announced it will close its defined benefit pension scheme next year.

The union attacked the decision and made an alternative proposal.

Royal Mail said on Friday it was proposing a defined benefit cash balance scheme, which includes elements of the CWU proposal, without some of the “inherent risks” to the company it believes the union scheme would have created.

“We very much appreciate the care that the CWU applied to its proposal and we have agreed to meet them to discuss it further.

“However, at the moment we do not believe the CWU proposal, in its current form, meets the fundamental principles underpinning our 2018 pension review.

“These are, sustainability, affordability and security.

“We believe that the defined benefit cash balance scheme would be a fair proposal that compares favourably with the retirement benefits offered in our industry and by other large UK employers.

“We will continue to discuss the future of the plan with our unions,” said a Royal Mail statement.

Brian Scott of Unite, which has 6,000 members at Royal Mail, said: “Unite continues to meet with the Royal Mail management to discuss its pensions proposals, and these negotiations are complex and difficult.

“At this stage, it is not possible to say if an agreed solution can be found, but we are committed to making every effort to ensure our members have decent pensions’ provision in the future.

“As we have previously stated, if we don’t achieve a satisfactory outcome, we can’t rule out an industrial action ballot on this issue.

“However, we will be consulting with our members closely at every stage over the coming weeks.”