Industrial action threatened at Aston Martin

Industrial action has been threatened at Aston Martin as workers face losing £100,000 in retirement income.

Unite the union says this will occur if the defined benefit (career average) scheme is closed from February next year.

The union said its members affected by the proposal at Gaydon and Wellesbourne (both in Warwickshire); Milton Keynes; Newport Pagnell; and St Athan in South Wales had voted overwhelmingly in a consultative ballot that they wanted to hold a full-scale industrial action ballot in the New Year to protect their retirement incomes.

Aston Mattin Lagonda wants to close the scheme on the 31st January and move the defined benefit (DB) scheme to the existing defined contribution (DC) scheme which covers the majority of the workforce and new employees.

However, Unite says DC schemes are at the mercy of sudden fluctuations in global stock markets and produce worse retirement incomes.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “We will back our members at Aston Martin 100 per cent if they decide to take industrial action to defend their pensions and defeat this threat to their retirement incomes.

“These workers have done as asked and saved for their retirement, but they have also worked hard to deliver improved profits for Aston Martin. There is, therefore, no case to be made for closing the defined benefit pension schemes, a move that robs our members of tens of thousands of pounds – in the case of Aston Martin workers, that is about £100,000.

“Aston Martin’s whole workforce is now aware of the gross inadequacy of the existing defined contribution scheme by comparison – and this will be a significant factor when we put forward our claim in the 2022 pay review.”

The consultation period is due to end on the 17th of December. The union has called for this to be extended, but this was declined by management.

However, Unite argues that such DC schemes are at the mercy of sudden fluctuations in global stock markets and produce worse retirement incomes. The consultation period is due to end on Friday (17 December). The union has called for it to be extended, but that request has, so far, been declined by the management.

An Aston Martin spokesperson said: “As a responsible employer, Aston Martin has a duty to deliver financially sustainable pension arrangements for its circa 2,000 employees, whilst managing its pension risks and underlying costs. Having completed a detailed review of its future pension arrangements, and in line with many other UK employers, it is proposing changes to its defined benefit scheme affecting circa 400 employees.

“Should these changes occur, Aston Martin has outlined an attractive transition arrangement – including a one-off cash payment and equity in the company. This is in addition to supporting the defined benefit pension scheme to meet the cost of pension benefits already earned.

“Aston Martin remains in direct communication with the affected employees, and their representatives, regarding these changes and is unable to comment further at this time.”