Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 15:35 UK

AA patrol staff vote to strike in pensions dispute

AA rescue van
No strike dates have been set yet

AA patrol staff have voted to go on strike in a dispute over pensions.

The Independent Democratic Union (IDU) said its members had voted 57% in favour of industrial action in an 87% turnout.

If it goes ahead, the union said it would be the first walkout in the motoring body's 105-year history.

The AA said it was disappointed its staff had voted to strike, but said that talk of industrial action was "premature".

"This is not a strong mandate to strike and we would urge the union to think again," said Andrew Strong, chief executive of AA Services.

"In consultations, most staff seem to accept the need for the company to make changes to the [pension] scheme and we think the majority of staff will support our proposals."

No strike dates have yet been set and the union is asking the AA to hold more talks on the issue.

However, the motoring group said it had drawn up contingency plans to ensure a good service, should the strike go ahead.

Pension caps

The IDU's national secretary, Alistair Maclean, said it was clear there was "widespread anger" over plans to cap employee pensions.

The AA's management wants to put a ceiling on annual rises in pensionable salaries, to raise employee contributions and also to reduce the maximum annual rise in pensions paid to 2.5% a year.

The final-salary scheme is already closed to new joiners, but Acromas believes it is being more generous than some other firms in keeping the scheme open for contributions from existing members.

The AA is part of Acromas, which owns Saga, the travel and financial services company that sells products to people aged over 50.

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