Staff’s fury at Grangemouth firm’s new pension plans

The future of Syngenta workers' pensions is up in the air at the moment
The future of Syngenta workers' pensions is up in the air at the moment

A chemical firm’s plans to change its pension provision has provoked a bad reaction among long-serving workers.

Management at Syngenta, in Earls Road, Grangemouth, are currently in the middle of a 60-day consultation with 154 members of staff over proposals to change its defined benefit scheme.

The firm wants to base the employees’ pensions on their pensionable pay at March 1, 2015, no matter how many more years they may be employed by the company or how their pay may increase over that period.

Under these proposals, employees in the scheme could continue to make their own contributions to build up a pension, but it would not grow in line with future pay.

An employee said: “Around 34 per cent of the current workforce face losing almost half their pension value at retirement. Staff facing these cuts are furious. How can a company that is making so much profit and preaches how good a company it is to work for take this action against its core loyal staff?”

Dougie Wilson, Unite convener at Syngenta, said: “We have a lot of meetings with management still to come, but the guys affected by this are extremely disappointed and angry the company would even put proposals like this on the table.”

A Syngenta spokesman said: “The costs associated with defined benefit pensions have risen dramatically in recent years and in order to ensure the sustainability of our defined benefit scheme over the long term, we are consulting on a proposed change.

“This decision has not been taken lightly and we know how important this scheme is to those of our employees who benefit from it. We therefore look forward to receiving their feedback on our proposal before a final decision is taken.”