General Electric proposes closure of defined benefit pension plan to new members

General Electric (GE) has launched a consultation on its proposal to close its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme to new members.

Under the proposals, a defined contribution (DC) scheme will be provided for new members, while existing members of the DB pension will continue to pay into the plan.

A spokesperson from GE said that the firm’s priority is to make sure employees are given the chance to provide feedback on the proposals. “I can confirm that we have launched a formal process of consultation on proposals relating to our UK pension and benefit arrangements, giving our employees the opportunity to provide feedback and make choices from a range of options”, he explained. †

“The consultation process launched on 19 May and will be completed by August 4.”†

Ian Waddell, national officer for aerospace and shipbuilding at Unite, said: “GE recently announced first quarter earnings of $3.6 billion, up 58% from the first quarter of 2010.

“Employees in the UK will struggle to see why such a rich company should make such punitive changes to their pensions.

“There can be no other reason than the transfer of risk from the company to the employees, who will now have to gamble on their pension being enough to see them through old age.

“These changes will be a bolt from the blue for our members and we will be demanding an explanation from GE for its strategy so that we can negotiate a better deal for our members on pensions.

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