BT Group (LON:BT.A) faces a row with its trade union over plans to overhaul its pension scheme. The news comes as the former telecoms monopoly looks to tackle a multibillion-pound hole in the scheme.
BT’s share price has advanced in London in today’s session, having added 1.48 percent to 247.35p as of 08:16 GMT, outperforming the broader market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having slipped into the red and currently standing 0.28 percent lower at 7,393.33 points. The group’s shares have lost just under a third of their value over the past year, as compared with a near nine-percent rise in the Footsie.
‘Slap in the face’
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) urged its members yesterday to reject BT’s proposals to change pension provision across the company, branding the move as a “slap in the face to loyal employees”. The Telegraph noted in its coverage of the news that the former telecoms monopoly had said that while it could keep its keep its defined benefit scheme open for 21,100 non-managerial staff including engineers, it would cut its share of contributions in an attempt to encourage them to voluntarily switch to a defined contribution scheme. Alternatively, the telco could close the final salary and force staff into the defined contribution scheme.
“While the CWU accepts that there is a case for some change with regards to defined benefit pensions [...] we won’t be fobbed off by proposals which represent the short-changing of ALL of our members,” Deputy General Secretary Andy Kerr commented in a statement.
The Telegraph reports that BT executives have been in negotiations with union leaders over the plans for several months.
“We have got the regulator and the Government to handle at the moment. We can’t afford a fight with the staff too,” a senior BT source told the newspaper.