Capita workers in Belfast ballot for strike in pensions row

Unite claims service firm’s proposals will hit Capita staff retirement earnings by up to 70%

Unite’s national officer, Dominick Hook, warned Capita’s proposals have far-reaching consequences for many members: “Some staff will lose a shocking 70 per cent of their retirement income.”  Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Unite’s national officer, Dominick Hook, warned Capita’s proposals have far-reaching consequences for many members: “Some staff will lose a shocking 70 per cent of their retirement income.” Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

 

Staff at Capita in Belfast and other centres began voting in a strike ballot on Monday on pension changes that trade union Unite claims will cut some members’ retirement incomes by 70 per cent.

Unite is carrying out the ballot of Capita workers in the UK following proposals from the services group to close its current defined-benefit pension scheme.

The union’s national officer, Dominick Hook, warned that Capita’s proposals have far-reaching consequences for many members. “Some staff will lose a shocking 70 per cent of their retirement income,” he said.

Workers are based in Belfast and a number cities in England and Scotland such as Birmingham, Manchester and Stirling. They work with Capita Life and Pensions and Capita IT Services, providing services for clients that include Prudential and Friends Life.

A Capita spokesperson said: “We are in the minority of companies still offering a defined benefit pension plan to a small percentage of our overall employees. Following a thorough review of our pensions estate, we have recognised that this arrangement is not sustainable in the long-term. Capita has therefore been consulting with these employees, circa 3 per cent of the total workforce. No final decisions have been made.”

The spokesperson said the proposed new defined contribution pension plan will not impact “their accrued benefits in the existing defined benefit pension scheme and the impact on overall retirement income will vary by individual and is largely dependent on their age and length of time to retirement.

“The proposed Defined Contribution benefits are comparable to employees’ peers outside of Capita.”