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Pilkington Pay Threats Resisted

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

GMB to consult members over Pilkington glass ultimatum to freeze pay unless cuts in future pensions paid are accepted by March 18th.

This is a retrograde step which undermines the trust and confidence between unions and the company says GMB GMB is consulting members on an ultimatum issued by Pilkington Glass to members that if they do not agree to the freezing of pensionable pay then there will be no further increases in their salaries. Pilkington Glass is saying there would be no more annual pay increases, no increases through promotion and no increases through re-grading.

GMB members have until 18th March to respond to company on freezing of pensionable pay. GMB has advised members not to respond until the union is able to furnish them with more detailed advice. See notes to editors for previous release by GMB on this issue.

Charlie Leonard, GMB Senior Organiser, said “I have written to the company informing them that they are seeking intimidating the pension scheme members into accepting the changes. I told them that Pilkington Glass is also undermining the integrity of collective bargaining between the GMB and Pilkington Glass.

This is a retrograde step which undermines the trust and confidence between unions and the company.

Pilkington Glass has written to members of the Pilkington Superannuation Scheme (PSS) on the 15 February 2013, confirming that the Company intends to freeze employees' salaries by 30 April 2013 for the purpose of pensionable pay. Members have until middle of March to respond to the proposal. If accepted pensionable pay will not rise in the future.

GMB is consulting our members in respect of this new development."

End

Contact: Charlie Leonard 07974 018 408 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

Notes to editors

Copy of GMB press release of 28 Jan 2013: GMB TO RESIST COMPULSORY JOB LOSSES AND PENSIONS CHANGES AT PILKINGTON GLASS

The introduction of a cap on pensionable pay will erode past and future benefits by at least 20% and up to 40% for younger scheme members says GMB

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

GMB has over 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 2 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 additions 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%.

Charlie Leonard, GMB Senior Organiser 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 industrial action if the Company does not change its position. GMB is determined to ensure that our members’ pensions and jobs are protected"

End

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