NUJ seeks urgent talks over Trinity pension payments

The NUJ is seeking ‘urgent talks’with Trinity Mirror over plans to cut pension fund payments by £69m over the next three years.

The move is part of a deal announced last week by Trinity to refinance its £221m debt.

NUJ deputy general secretary Barry Fitzpatrick has written to Trinity’s financial director Vijay Vaghela calling for a meeting to discuss the new arrangements.

A spokesperson for Trinity told Press Gazette: ‘Vijay is more than happy to meet Barry as he has done on previous occasions to discuss pensions.”

Trinity has reached a deal with the trustees of Trinity Mirror’s Pension Schemes to reduce payments for the next three years to £10m a year, though this is expected to revert back to £33m from 2015.

It comes after the company’s pension deficit rose by £55m in 2011 to £172.6m.

The NUJ said it was ‘most disturbed that having closed the final salary pension scheme last year to new accrual, the directors are now making a reduction of £69 million company contributions to the schemes”.

Last week Trinity reported a 40 per cent fall in operating profit to £92.4m on revenue down 2 per cent to £747m in the 2011 financial year.

It said net debt had been cut by £44.7 million to £221.2 million and announced a new £110m bank facility through to August 2015, along with targeting a further £15m of structural cost savings in 2012.

The union’s Northern & Midlands Organiser Chris Morley said: ‘News that Trinity Mirror bosses have brokered a key re-financing deal for the group at the expense of cutting company contributions to the pensions schemes of loyal staff to the tune of £69m is deeply worrying.

‘This has been done in complete secrecy, apparently away from the gaze or involvement of the pension regulator.

‘The NUJ has therefore demanded urgent talks with directors to clarify the plan and wants total reassurance that the pensions of Trinity Mirror staff and former staff have not been put in any jeopardy by this move.

‘The NUJ also wants details on how important the cut in pension contributions is to the overall debt restructure negotiated with American financiers and what would be the consequences should the regulator take issue with any element of the deal done with pension fund trustees.”

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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