DHL consults on DB pension closure

DHL is consulting on the closure of its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme to future accrual.

The scheme, which covers around 3,500 employees, is scheduled to be closed at the end of 2013.

Its Voyager defined contribution (DC) pension scheme, which covers 16,000 employees, will not be affected by the consultation. Employees contribute either 3% or 4% into the DC scheme, which is matched by the organisation.

Around 17,000 employees were enrolled into the National Employment Savings Trust’s (Nest) master trust on 1 January 2013 as part of the logistics and transport organisation’s auto-enrolment duties.

A spokesperson for DHL said: “To date, we have made auto-enrolment arrangements for 17,000 staff, who declined the opportunity to participate in the Voyager scheme.

“The consultation process will continue with individual affected employees and the trade unions in the coming weeks, when we hope to clarify any concerns raised.”

Trade union Unite has warned it may ballot DHL members for industrial action.

Matt Draper, national officer for road transport, logistics and retail distribution at Unite, said: “We are seeking copper-bottomed guarantees that the Voyager scheme will continue in its present form and that the auto-enrolment scheme won’t become the pension scheme of choice by default.

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“We are very concerned about the proposed final salary scheme’s closure, [because] we see future retirement benefits being substantially diminished as a result for this section of the workforce.”

DHL declined to provide any additional detail about the consultation and the organisation’s other pension schemes.