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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 00:52 GMT
Strike threat on Harrods pensions
Harrods store in Knightsbridge, west London
The store said the current scheme poses an unacceptable risk
London's prestigious department store Harrods faces a damaging strike in a row over changes to its pension scheme.

It has proposed closing the final salary pension scheme to existing and new employees at the start of April.

Engineers and other workers, including electricians who service the lifts, may strike while distribution staff are considering industrial action.

They said a strike would close the Knightsbridge store, and want the firm to hold more talks.

Harrods said the cost and volatility of the final salary scheme presented "an unacceptable future risk", and said it needed to secure current entitlements and reduce the risk of bigger future deficits.

This is a store which is worth millions and millions and it is astounding that they are claiming they cannot afford to fund the pensions of loyal staff
Jennie Bremner
Amicus
It blamed lower interest rates, longer life expectancy, higher taxes and low investment returns for problems and said a new money purchase scheme would be introduced.

But Amicus, which represents 100 engineers and maintenance workers at the store, said it had put forward other proposals to cut the shortfall, but Harrods had refused to negotiate.

It said it will consult its members this week on whether they wanted to hold a strike ballot.

Regional officer Jennie Bremner said: "This is a store which is worth millions and millions and it is astounding that they are claiming they cannot afford to fund the pensions of loyal staff who now face uncertainty in retirement."

The Transport and General Workers Union, which represents distribution and warehouse workers at Harrods, has said 1,500 members of the pension scheme would be directly affected.

Regional official Madeleine Richards added: "Our members are keeping their options open. If Harrods don't respond positively this could go as far as the threat of an industrial action ballot."




SEE ALSO:
Harrods shutting pension scheme
02 Feb 06 |  Business


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