Pension plan changes to affect hundreds of Nissan staff in Sunderland
Hundreds of staff at Sunderland's Nissan plant face changes to their pension scheme.
One worker, who did not wish to be named, contacted the Echo to say the car giant has informed members of its final salary pension scheme that it wants to change the terms on which the benefits they receive will be calculated.
Nissan closed the final salary scheme - in which payments are calculated on salary at retirement - to new starters in 2004.
But now it has opened consultation with remaining members about replacing it with a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) scheme, in which benefits are calculated on average earnings across a claimant’s entire career.
“Workers have been told they are now in a 60-day consultation period then after that this will more than likely be signed off,” said the Nissan worker.
“The union is staying very quiet on this and the future of the employees affected is in the hands of the Company Council to fight their corner.
“Workers at other companies have recently had their final salary scheme changed but were compensated financially.
“All of this has left a bad taste in the mouths of the affected employees.”
The plan would affect around one in three of Nissan’s 7,000 employees at Sunderland and the firm’s engineering centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire.
Unite national officer Tony Murphy emphasised consultation over the changes had just started.
“We are in talks about changes that can be made to keep the pension scheme open,” he said.
“It is not going to close - that is not going to happen.”
He had been at the plant this week to discuss the proposals: “I met with senior managers at the plant and we had a discussion about how the consultation is going to pan out over the next two months.
“We are in the very, very early stages, but what they have said is they have no intention of closing the scheme.
“The consultation is about how they can keep it going - one of the options they are looking at is CARE.”
A Nissan spokesman said all money paid into the existing plan would be protected and added: “Our proposed Defined Benefit plan is one of the most competitive in the industry.”