All-day protest at CN Group over pensions

Journalists working for the Barrow office of the CN Group in Carlisle held an all-day disruptive mandatory chapel meeting in protest against the company's decision to close its final salary pension scheme to all members.

According to the union, 27 out of 38 editorial staff working for the Barrow division – which publishes the North West Evening Mail and The Advertiser – left the office at 8.30am and did not return for the rest of the day.

The CN Group is proposing to close its pension scheme in favour of a defined contribution scheme, which is dependent on market rates rather than length of service.

The action follows the union's rejection of the company's offer of a five-point review of the pay grade, as well as a one-off payment of £300 to trainees as an incentive.

The points stipulate that any pay review would depend on experience, that the union would have to use the market rate as a yardstick for similar locations and that any review "must be affordable in terms of overall costs".

NUJ northern organiser Chris Morley (pictured) said: "The points are totally open ended, which is the big concern. Unless we were able to tie those down, we have no guarantees. There are also real concerns about when the review would be operable from.

"Trainees were offered £300, but the chapel argued that the attack on their benefits has gone across the board so the payments should be across the board."

Chief executive Robin Burgess added: "I'm disappointed the NUJ has decided to take industrial action. Our paper has been published today in Barrow. There are no further negotiations planned with the NUJ at present."

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