Capita staff agree strike action in pensions dispute

Union members at financial processing services group, Capita have voted for strike action in a dispute over pensions.

The industrial action will affect sites in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Reading, Stirling and Belfast.

The Unite union said its members were opposed to plans to close the current defined benefit scheme and transfer staff to a defined contribution scheme – a move which it claimed could see people’s retirement benefits cut by up to 70%.

In June Capita informed its staff of significant changes to the pension arrangements. Unite said staff in the scheme would suffer a massive cut in their retirement income as a result of the proposals.

The strike ballot was 95% in favour of strike action.

Unite has now told Capita that its members will be taking six continuous days of strike action starting on October 5.

Dominic Hook, Unite national officer, said: “The disgraceful plans by Capita to slash the deferred pay that staff will get in retirement is utterly unacceptable. Capita’s pension proposals will have far reaching consequences for the retirement of many Unite members. Some staff will lose a shocking 70% of their retirement income.

“Capita has once again put the interests of shareholders before those of its staff. Unite members want to know how a highly profitable company such as Capita can undermine the morale and loyalty of hard working staff by proposing to remove their defined benefit pension whilst at the same time paying off a failing chief executive.

“There is no justification for highly profitable Capita to treat its workforce in this manner. The extremely high vote in favour of strike action shows how strongly members feel about this.”

The union is now calling on the companies which outsource contracts to Capita to intervene in the dispute.

It also said if Capita implemented the proposal, then it had real concerns that it would open the door to further attacks on the pension arrangements of the other companies.

Unite members affected are employed by Capita Life & Pensions Regulated Services, there are also some employed in Capita IT Services.
Several of Capita’s contracts will be affected: Prudential; Royal London CIS; Phoenix / Royal London (Birmingham); Friends Life; Specialist Services (all sites); IT Programmes /projects (all sites).

There are also some employed in Capita IT Services and Capita Employee Benefits.