Nearly 90 per cent of Royal Mail union members have voted in favour of strike action after the postal service’s defined benefit pension scheme was closed.
While a new defined contribution set-up means combined employee and employer pension contributions could almost reach 20 per cent, The Communication Workers Union described the pension changes as an “attack on the pension rights of hard-working postmen”.
Union executives will meet later this week to decide next steps, but the vote, which saw 70 per cent turnout, leaves open the possibility of a Christmas walkout. Royal Mail’s strike adds to others including at Capita and the Bank of England where campaigners have referenced pension rights as a reason for industrial action.
Hargreaves Lansdown senior pensions analyst Nathan Long says: “Royal Mail’s decision to close their defined benefit pension scheme is entirely in keeping with many employers keen to cap the uncertainty of future pension payments. Delivering on these changes is proving more challenging, with the threat of industrial action now hanging over the busy Christmas period.
“Two replacement schemes have been tabled. Both offer generous pension contributions in comparison to most employers. Whilst the pension benefits are undoubtedly being watered down, a first class retirement is still available for staff who maintain membership throughout their working life.”