The Royal Opera House (ROH) has warned hundreds of staff they may be thrown out of their final salary pension scheme.
The scheme’s deficit has risen to more than £8m and one option is to close it to both existing and new members.
If no action is taken, the organisation will have to increase its contributions from 15% of staff salaries to 26%, the ROH said. But management have said this was “not a financially viable option”.
Closing the scheme to current members would also be expensive, as existing legislation states solvent employers cannot do this unless they make good any deficit.
Another option is to close the scheme to new staff and restrict the build up of benefits for present members. New staff would be offered a money purchase scheme, instead of a final salary scheme.
The ROH has about 800 full-time employees, with ‘front-of-house’, administrative and technical staff eligible for membership of the pension scheme.
The opera house management is consulting with staff and their trade union Bectu, and says it would prefer not to close the scheme to its current members. It blamed the increased deficit on increased longevity of workers and falling investment returns.
The ROH said sorting out the issue would “take as long as it takes”.