The T&G union says it is dismayed and concerned by tyre manufacturer Michelin’s announcement to close its final salary pension scheme and transfer members to a less favourable money purchase scheme.
Rob Taylor, T&G convenor at the Stoke plant, said over 4.000 people will be affected including those employed at the ATS service outlets.
The company confirmed this morning that it intends to close the final salary scheme to everyone blaming a sizable funding deficit as well as the assertion that people are living longer.
The announcement heralds the start of a consultation period but this was greeted with some cynicism by union leaders.
“This looks like a fait accompli by Michelin which throws retirement plans into chaos,” said Rob Taylor. “We will go into the consultation with our eyes open and we’ll call for meaningful talks and serious consideration of alternatives to closure but our fear is the company has made its mind up.”
Phil McNulty, T&G national secretary for manufacturing, said he was extremely concerned by the news and would be supporting union members in the forthcoming talks. He said Michelin’s announcement, coming a day after reports showed household incomes for those on money purchase schemes are just over 40 percent of their final salary, was a real blow.
“Everything we know about money purchase schemes shows they leave people worse off in retirement,” he said. “We’ll work hard in this consultation to put pressure on Michelin to think again especially as many of the reports on pension funds are now showing improvements in fortunes which render pensions being slashed unnecessary.”
Michelin has manufacturing plants at Stoke-on-Trent, Dundee and Ballymena plus an administration department in Manchester.