Cumbrian Newspapers staff to vote on strike action over closure of final salary pensions

Staff at Cumbrian Newspapers are planning a strike ballot this week over the closure of their final salary pension scheme.

The publishing group, which employs about 300 staff, is proposing to close its final salary scheme to new and existing members to cut the £7.7m pension deficit.

Employees are being offered an alternative money purchase pension scheme.

But the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said the closure will lead to lower pensions.

NUJ representative Julian Whittle said: “The members feel anger, betrayal and dismay. Using the company’s own projections, the members will be substantially worse off – typically, £4,000 to £5,000 a year worse off when they retire.”

Andrew Swanston, finance director at Cumbrian Newspapers, said the proposals were a way of ensuring the company was not put at financial risk in the future.

“We have to avoid major risks to the business. It is in the interests of all staff that we maintain a strong viable business,” he said.

The group publishes the Cumberland News, the Carlisle News & Star, and the North West Evening News.

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