Food group’s staff threaten legal action

Nearly 1,000 staff at the Big Food Group are set to take legal action
against the company after it closed its final salary pension scheme to all

The employees are claiming breach of contract after the firm, formally known
as the Iceland Group, announced plans to replace the final salary scheme with a
money-purchase scheme for new and existing staff.

Barry Mordsley, head of the employment team Salans Hertzfeld &
Heilbronn, which has been appointed by the employees, said a claim has already
been issued to the Big Food Group’s chief executive.

"Our claim is for a breach of contract on two counts. First, for a
substantive change in their terms and conditions, and, second, for the
company’s failure to consult on whether or not to make the change," he

A spokesperson for the Big Food Group said it could not afford the final
salary pension scheme and that almost one in four companies had closed such
schemes to existing staff.

"The pension changes are regrettable, but we felt we had no other choice.

"We had to act to secure the future of the business, plus the jobs of
our 30,000 colleagues, because we simply could not afford the rising cost of
the existing defined pension benefit scheme for 4,000 members," he added.

Under final salary pension (defined benefit) schemes, the pension an
individual receives is based on their salary at or near retirement, whereas
with money purchase schemes, the value is determined by how much is put in and
the performance of the stock market.

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