FORMER staff from the Co-operative Insurance Society were on strike for one day this week outside the society's headquarters in Manchester over a pensions dispute.
Following the formation of Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), designed to bring CIS and The Co-operative Bank together under common leadership, it was decided to transfer 40 desktop support staff to specialist IT company SCC, which provides value-added services and solutions for public and private sector organisations.
After talks with the unions, CFS enhanced a number of the transferring staff's terms and conditions of employment including their pension provision. 16 members of Unifi, the banking union, agreed to the new terms but 21 members of Amicus have so far failed to agree.
Trade union Amicus says the pensions under the terms of transfer to the new company are not comparable to those they would be getting if they were still working at CFS.
Ian Waddell, Amicus regional officer, told the News: "CIS staff have a final salary scheme but SCC are offering a money purchase scheme. We have brought in an independent pension expert who says that an employer contribution rate of 16 per cent would be needed to replicate members current pension but SCC are offering just a 4 per cent contribution."
A statement issued by CFS said: "It is totally misleading for Amicus to suggest that pension contributions will be just 4 per cent of salary when the new pension related package is worth in total more than 13 per cent of salary.`
Further strike action is expected to take place on Wednesday 24th March and a 48 hour strike is scheduled for 30th and 31st March.
More coverage in next week's News.