Johnston Press is in talks to close final salary pension

Johnston Press has been in discussions with the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) about plans to close its final salary scheme.

The company, which publishes titles including the Scotsman and the Yorkshire Press, has confirmed that it is entering into a two month consultation with staff over its proposal to close the scheme to future accrual, which will affect approximately 15% of all employees.

In a letter to members, John Fry, chief executive officer of Johnston Press said that it was with regret that the company was proposing the closure with effect from 30 June 2010. However a statement from the firm said that closing the plan to future accrual would help limit the increase in liabilities and allow the company to concentrate on reducing the deficit.

The deficit of the Johnston Press pension plan has grown from £74 million to £146 million since 2002, despite the company making extra contributions of over £43 million to the final salary part of the plan during this time. If the proposals go ahead, those affected would be given the opportunity to join the firm’s money purchase pension from 1 July 2010.

Fry said: “Our main aim is to protect the benefits that are already built up in the final salary section of the plan. To do this we need to ensure that the shortfall is controlled and reduced and that we provide a pension arrangement that is competitive and sustainable for the company.”

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