JCB set to close pension scheme to 1,100 employees


Digger-maker JCB has come under fire for closing a ‘fantastic’ pension scheme affecting to more than 1,000 workers.

The Rocester manufacturer is shutting down the J C Bamford Lifeplan scheme in April as part of plans to bring all of its UK workers onto one main pension scheme.

Lifeplan – which closed to new members in 2004 – currently has 1,100 active members, equating to 18 per cent of the company’s UK workforce.

It is a defined benefit pension scheme – sometimes known as a ‘final salary’ scheme – which pays retirees a pension depending on their salary and length of service.

But now JCB is closing the scheme and ‘improving’ its remaining pension plan – the J C Bamford Stakeholder Scheme – which sees retirees paid a pension based on contributions made from employee and employer.

Following its closure next month, Lifeplan members will be given the opportunity to join the Stakeholder Scheme – which currently has 4,600 active members.

The GMB union has described JCB’s decision to close its Lifeplan scheme as ‘tragic’.

Regional organiser Stuart Harrison said: “This is a tragic decision that will affect 1,100 workers. These are dedicated workers who’ve toiled for many years to make the business what it is today.

“We will be balloting our members on future courses of action.”

JCB said its ‘extensive’ consultation process with staff and employee representatives – including the GMB Union – ended in February.

Martin Graves, JCB group director of human resources, said: “These changes allow JCB to control the uncertainty of pension costs now and in the future.”

Pensions expert Richard Jacobs, who runs Richard Jacobs Pension & Trustee Services in Newcastle, said final salary pension schemes are fantastic for employees, but unsustainable for employers.

He said: “There is not one company in the FTSE 100 which has a final salary scheme open to new members because the way it works means the employer won’t know what that final benefit is going to be, so it is total unsustainable.

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“It is not good news that JCB employees will no longer have this fantastic pension scheme, but it is important that they know that what they have earned so far cannot be taken away from them, it is theirs and it will be protected.

“But there is no doubt that the Stakeholder Scheme will not be as good.”



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