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National Grid reviews pension schemes

NATIONAL GRID has confirmed it is reviewing its two defined benefit pension schemes in an attempt to control the cost of future accrual.

The business said it had entered into preliminary talks with members and unions, but could not discuss what options were under consideration at this stage, Accountancy Age’s sister publication Professional Pensions reports. 

A spokeswoman for the National Grid denied claims from the trade union GMB that it was planning to treble member contributions.

She said: “No figures have been mentioned at all – we are still in very early discussions with employees and unions about agreeing a way forward.”

The scheme deficit was reported as £1.1bn in the company’s interim results last September. Employee contributions are currently 3% while employer contribution rates vary between 23% and 32%, partly funded by an industry-wide programme.

The union has accused the company of “North-Korean-style sabre-rattling” over the negotiations which could affect 5,600 members.

GMB national secretary for energy and utilities Gary Smith said: “We don’t agree with the picture they have painted. They talk about the deficit going up to £1bn, but we don’t think it’s that high.

“We accept there could be a challenge if there is an increase in the deficit moving forward, but we aren’t concerned with the historic deficit, because there is a plan for that that is part-funded by [energy regulator] Ofgem.”

Smith said GMB was in discussions with other unions over how to respond.

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