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Strike action looms at Wisbech factory

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General View of the Nestle factory Wisbech ANL-151207-215356009
General View of the Nestle factory Wisbech ANL-151207-215356009

Strike action could be looming at a Wisbech factory due to a dispute over a pension scheme.

GMB and Unite Unions are holding talks with Nestlé Purina, which has a factory in Cromwell Road, over plans to close its career average pension scheme.

Under the plans Nestlé wants to close the defined benefit scheme, currently offered on a career average basis, and replace it with a defined contribution or ‘money purchase’ scheme. The final pension scheme was closed five years ago.

If the proposals go ahead the career average scheme will be closed to new entrants from 2016 and closed to future pension build-up for existing members from the start of 2017.

Nestlé says it is replacing the scheme as the costs and risks of providing the scheme have increased substantially.

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer, said: “Over 7,600 Nestlé workers in the UK which these proposals will affect will wonder why a company such as Nestlé, generating significant profit here and in other world markets, can justify such detrimental plans. Particularly as these proposals directly affect those Nestlé workers who manufacture the products that make Nestlé the leading world food manufacturer.

“We urge Nestlé to think again on these proposals as we fear that the UK workforce will not accept these changes willingly.

“Strike action with all its consequences for Nestle’s corporate brand if these proposals are implemented, looms large across Nestlé in the UK at present.”

Dame Fiona Kendrick, CEO and Chairman of Nestlé UK and Ireland said: “We realise that these proposed changes will cause concern for employees who are building up defined pension benefits in the Nestlé UK Pension Fund, or are eligible to do so.

“We are very sorry that we have to propose these changes but under the circumstances we believe it is the right option.”

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