Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Midlands TUC support for striking Marmite/Unilever workers on Wednesday

The Midlands TUC today (Tuesday) condemned Unilever’s plans to close its final salary pension scheme in support of the Unilever workforce taking industrial action across the UK, including at Marmite in Burton Upon Trent on Thursday.

Unilever, the world’s third largest consumer products company, is proposing to close its final salary scheme which has 5,000 active members and replace it with a career average scheme which will see pension values fall by between 20 and 40 per cent.

Unilver’s CEO Paul Polman is paid 285 times more than the average worker and his pay packet last year included a £900,000 salary, a bonus of £1.45m, as well as £900,000 in free shares and a £300,000 contribution to his pension.

Midlands TUC Regional Secretary, Rob Johnston, commented:

Unilever’s decision to close their pension scheme is a slap in the face to the dedicated workforce that has delivered over £6bn in profits for Unilever.

This battle for decent pensions resonates with the arguments for a more responsible capitalism. How can it be right for a company that is making billions in profit, pays its CEO a small fortune and, at the same time, wrecks the retirement plans of honest, hard working staff who have done nothing more than work tirelessly to make Unilever such a successful company?

The workers at Marmite – and across Unilever - are entitled to a decent, dignified retirement. This industrial action is at the forefront of the battle for fair pensions. What’s more, it shows that the battle for pensions applies equally to the public and private sectors. All workers are entitled to a good pension which is an essential element of a new responsible capitalism that we all know is something that we wish to see.

Unilever should sit down with the unions and negotiate to retain a final salary scheme. The workers have generated huge profits and they are entitled to a fair share of the rewards.

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