TM staff in pension dispute

By Dominic Ponsford

Journalists in Liverpool have taken to the streets in protest at a reduction to Trinity Mirror pension benefits.

Members of the NUJ joined forces with unionised printers and
advertising staff to demonstrate outside the offices of the Liverpool
Post and Echo and the Glasgow offices of Scottish and Universal
Newspapers.

They are unhappy that the option to apply for early
retirement at 60 without penalty has been removed for members of the
final salary pension scheme.

They also remain opposed to the
final salary scheme being closed to new members of staff since 2002.
Under the terms of the Trinity Mirror final salary pension scheme staff
were awarded a 60th of their final salary on retirement for every year
worked.

Liverpool Post and Echo father of the chapel Mike Studley
said: “For us it’s an important benefit [early retirement] and when we
signed up for the scheme we understood it was a provision we might be
able to take advantage of. For them to just scrap it without
consultation or negotiation is not right.”

A Trinity Mirror
spokesman said: “In common with many other companies, Trinity Mirror
closed its final salary pension scheme to new employees and replaced it
with a new scheme. This happened several years ago, for reasons
including increasing life expectancy and stock market volatility.

“In
the past Trinity Mirror has agreed to remove the actuarial factors
[normally applied in the case of early retirement] with the cost being
met by a large surplus in the pension fund.

“Recently it
concluded that it cannot continue to do this if the fund and the
company are to continue to meet their obligations to fund pension
benefits of all members in a responsible way. It must be stressed that
the company has not stopped early retirements nor has it reduced
pension entitlements.”

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