Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Sugar firm to shut pension scheme

Tate & Lyle
The company blamed an increase in the scheme's deficit

Sugar firm Tate & Lyle will become the latest firm to close its final-salary pension scheme.

The scheme will close to 400 current employees , half of its UK workforce, next April after statutory consultation.

The company blamed an increase in the scheme's deficit to £110m.

Meanwhile, three days of strikes have been declared at the computer firm Fujitsu, partly over plans to close its final-salary scheme to existing staff.

The strikes at Fujitsu, by members of the Unite trade union, will take place on 12, 13 and 16 November.


Tate & Lyle is the latest employer to join the growing trend for firms to shut their final-salary schemes to existing staff, and not just new recruits.

The firm said its plan was due to the increasing cost of providing guaranteed pensions in the future.

"With a view to containing our pension costs and reducing balance sheet volatility, we have commenced consultation with employees who are active members of the UK Group Pension Scheme on the closure of that scheme to future accrual from April 2011," the firm said.

The scheme was shut to new joiners in April 2002.

Other employers pursuing the same policy this past year have been Pirelli, Dairy Crest, Costain, Morrisons, Barclays, Fujitsu, the Financial Services Authority and IBM.


Strike action at Fujitsu's UK offices may included members of the Public and Commercial Services union as well.

Earlier this year the computer firm, which employs 12,000 staff in the UK, said it wanted to cut 1,200 jobs and freeze pay, as well as shutting the pension scheme to 4,000 existing staff.

Unite national official Peter Skyte said the firm had made no response to his union's recent strike ballot.

"Our members are saying enough is enough," he said.

"But the responsibility for this rests squarely with the company for failing to talk to us or address the issues," he added.

Unite members voted by 74% in favour of strikes though Fujitsu said this amounted to just 728 staff in total.

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