CN chapel suspends strike ballot but asks for 20 per cent

NUJ members at Cumbria Newspapers have submitted a combined pay claim of 20 per cent, following the company’s announcement in July that it is to close its final pension salary scheme to all members of staff.

The union last week suspended a strike ballot after CN Group agreed to suspend the closure of the scheme, which was due at the end of this month, until April.

The union sent an email to chapel members saying: “We resolve to suspend the strike ballot on the pension scheme in view of the company’s decision to postpone the scheme’s closure until April.

“Instead we have tabled a combined pay and compensation claim of 20 per cent.

“We calculate it would take a rise of this order to cover members’ increased pension contributions if they are to achieve a pension from the new scheme as good as that provided by the present one, which is to be scrapped.”

CN chief executive Robin Burgess said: “I am delighted the union has decided not to ballot for industrial action. I said at the time I thought it was inappropriate. We have listened to our staff and are fully consulting with them.”

Burgess said the company still intends to close the scheme in April. The company intends to introduce a “defined contribution scheme”, which would be dependent on stock market performance and annuity rates, rather than length of service.

The decision was taken in the light of a £7.7 million deficit in the current pension scheme, as well as changing circumstances including greater life expectancy and poor returns on equity.

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