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Publisher closes pension scheme to existing staff

Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirrror has announced the closure of its final salary pension scheme to existing employers.

In an email sent out to staff on Friday afternoon, the company said the cost of the existing scheme was “unsustinable.”

It proposes to halt the build-up of future benefits in the scheme, with employees transferring to an alternative scheme, the Trinity Mirror Pension Plan.

A formal consultation over the plan is now under way and staff will be receiving letters at their home addresses over the next few days setting out the proposals in detail.

The move affects around 3,000 of Trinity Mirror’s 7,000 staff across its regional and national divisions. The final salary scheme had been closed to new entrants since 2003.

Four individual final salary schemes are affected by the change, namely:

  • Mirror Group Newspapers scheme, which mainly covers staff on the group’s national titles.

  • Trinity Retirement Benefits Scheme, which mainly covers regional newspaper staff.

  • Midland Independent Newspapers Scheme, inherited from the company of that name when Trinity Mirror acquired the Birmingham Post and Mail and its sister titles in 1997.

  • Middlesex County Press Scheme, inherited from the company of that name which formerly published the Harrow Observer and other weekly titles.

    Trinity Mirror said in the email that the deficit in the final salary or ‘defined benefit’ scheme has risen from £37m in 2001 to £275m now. Most of the increase is accounted for by people living longer.

    The company said in a statement: “Trinity Mirror is entering a two month consultation period with employees over its proposal to close the Group’s defined benefit pension schemes to future accrual. The cost of final salary pension provision continues to increase and the Group can no longer afford to provide these benefits.

    “Closing these schemes to future accrual would help limit the increase in liabilities in the defined benefit pension schemes and help the Group to fulfil its commitment to eliminate the current deficit.

    “Current contributing members, who would no longer build up future benefits in their defined benefit scheme, would be given the choice of building up future pension benefits in the existing defined contribution Trinity Mirror Pension Plan.”

    The move – and its timing – brought strong criticism from the National Union of Journalists.

    Scottish secretary Paul Holleran said: “This announcement on a Friday afternoon has left many of our members shell-shocked. The scrapping of the final salary scheme is the latest in along line of attacks on staff at Trinity Mirror.”


    Banjo (09/11/2009 10:04:59)
    Thanks Trinity – I trust the executives’ executive pension schemes (different to us plebs) will be bolstered by hefty payments so that the visionary leaders can live out their retirements in the luxury they have become accustomed to!

    the red postman (09/11/2009 10:24:37)
    4.29pm on a Friday in the middle of a redundancy crisis. Is there no depth to which TM will not sink? Then the official letter (which was not sent via Royal Mail but a courier company) was left in the frost outside my front door rather than posted through the letter box. Charming….

    Trinity Mirror employee (09/11/2009 10:49:17)
    The courier company man was very polite on Saturday. “Probably yer cards, love. They like to do these things on weekends just before Christmas,” he said as he handed over my package. He was wrong. This time. But Trinty Mirror’s reputation as a caring company is clearly widely known!

    Fed-up (09/11/2009 13:26:06)
    What is the point of a two-month consultation period when TM have clearly made up their minds already? Especially if it’s anything like their last ‘consultation’ over redundancies.

    Hengist Pod (09/11/2009 14:02:31)
    As well as reinventing the concept of “How to run a business” ie very badly Trinity Mirror has also reinvented the definition of consultation – deciding what it is going to do, pretending to workers that it is genuinely interested in dialogue, then doing what it was going to do in the first place anyway. I’m amazed they bother given the additional expense it must involve. This company is steadily but surely going down the pan!

    Reynard (09/11/2009 14:18:41)
    Sorry folks but this is real life ! What you should be worried about is the tax payer guaranteed pensions of the Tax Funded Sector,so called public sector, that’s what’s really going to make us all poor in the future.
    Tally Ho !

    Hengist Pod (10/11/2009 15:28:04)
    Time to hop over to the public sector methinks. Should have done it ages ago

    The Spelling Beep (11/11/2009 16:14:34)
    Unsustainable, just like your spell-check!