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GMB pledges to resist job losses at Pilkington Glass

Post Time:Jan 31,2013Classify:Industry NewsView:321

GMB has pledged to resist compulsory job losses and changes to pensions at Pilkington Glass.

The union has more than 500 members in St Helens and is undertaking a consultative ballot on proposed changes to pensions that could reduce final pensionable pay by between 20-40%.

Pilkington has announced a reduction of 33 jobs at Watson Street Works and 87 jobs at Float Works (which comprises of Greengate and the Cowley Hill sites). This situation has been brought about by a drop for demand within the Float Glass market and also a collapse in Solar Glass.

The company has also recently announced the closures of two European plants and also closures in what they class as their “downstream” businesses. Sites are being closed in Basingstoke and Aintree with the loss of 90 jobs.

In addition, high level discussions have been taking place over the past few months at the company’s St Helens headquarters between management and trade unions after the company forecast a possible deficit of £326m in the Pilkington Superannuation scheme (PSS).

Under the company’s proposal, individual’s pension benefits would be eroded by virtue of not receiving increases in pensionable pay after March 2013 as pay increases would not apply to pensionable pay which will be frozen. In some cases it could reduce final pensionable pay by between 20-40%.

GMB senior organiser Charlie Leonard said: “It has to be said that the company is suffering financially and at this moment in time is making heavy losses.  Nonetheless, in terms of the redundancies, the GMB is determined to reduce and mitigate the impact of job cuts and to resist compulsory redundancies.

“On pensions with the changes the younger you are in the PSS scheme the worse it would be.  In some cases it could reduce final pensionable pay by between 20-40%.  This draconian step is being resisted by the GMB.  Not only does it erode future benefits it also has an impact on past benefits i.e. accrued pension.

“Even though the manufacturing outlook is gloomy in the short run, our members are prepared to stand up and fight against these detrimental and draconian proposals to reduce their pensions which will apply in the longer term.

“We are presently undergoing a consultative ballot of our members within Pilkington Glass to see whether or not they want to accept or reject the company’s proposals on pensions.  This could well lead to a ballot for  action if the company does not change its position. GMB is determined to ensure that our members’ pensions and jobs are protected.”

Source: www.union-news.co.ukAuthor: shangyi

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