Liverpool

Unilever workers hold Warrington pension protest

Workers at Unilever's plants at Warrington and Port Sunlight in Merseyside have staged a demonstration against planned pension scheme changes.

The food and household goods firm is to consult employees about changing their final salary scheme to one calculated on career average earnings.

It is claimed the plans will safeguard the pensions, but will reduce pay-outs for 5,000 employees.

Unite union members used their own time to protest in Warrington.

The company, which makes PG Tips, Marmite, Dove, Comfort and Surf, hopes to introduce the change from January 2012.

'Increasingly unaffordable'

Unite spokeswoman Jennie Formby said: "Our members on all Unilever sites are furious at the planned attacks on their pensions.

"Unilever is a very profitable and successful company to which the workforce has richly contributed over many years.

"With annual UK sales of nearly 2.5bn euros, this is a company that can well afford a final salary pension scheme."

A Unilever spokesman said: "We announced to employees in April proposals to change Unilever's UK pension arrangements to help ensure their long-term financial sustainability and help maintain the competitiveness of the business in the UK.

"The changes have been proposed to help tackle the increasingly unaffordable and unsustainable costs associated with Unilever's UK pension fund.

"We understand the concerns of employees and their representatives and respect their right to protest.

"Formal consultation is scheduled to start in June and in the meantime, question-and-answer sessions for employees to voice their concerns and questions to leaders in the business have been held across the country."

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