Roadshows to explain Claverly pension cuts

Wolverhampton Express & Star publisher the Claverley Group has agreed to extend consultation with staff over proposals to scrap its final salary pension scheme, following pressure from the NUJ.

The consultation period over the move, which was announced on 9 March, is being extended until 1 July.

The company is organising a series of 14 "roadshows" where pensions experts and members of the management team will explain the changes in detail and answer any questions.

The company plans to replace the old scheme with a defined contribution scheme that is dependent on stock market performance rather than length of service.

It could save the company £600,000 per year.

Rather than paying 16 per cent of employees' salary into the fund, the changes would mean the company's maximum contribution would be 8 per cent, according to the union.

Staff are seeking legal consultation over the move to close the scheme to all its 600 plus members because, according to the company, future costs were "set to remain volatile and uncertain".

Father of chapel John Corser said: "We have suggested that the company needs to look at other alternatives to the scheme that they are putting forward, but we need to discuss it beforehand.

"We are concerned our members should have as much information as possible and we are urging them to attend the free consultation meetings that the company is calling over coming weeks.

"We would prefer the company to drop the plans, but realistically that may not be possible."

The move affects the two Claverley sub-divisions — Midlands News Association and Shropshire Newspapers — which publish 12 newspapers each.

The Express & Star chapel is due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the implications for members and to decide what official response to make to the company.

It will also consult with the Shropshire chapel separately.

Meanwhile, journalists working for Cumbrian Newspapers are currently balloting for industrial action after the company scrapped its scheme to all members.

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