Woolworths ups retirement age to save pensions

Woolworths is to raise the age at which new members of its final-salary
pension scheme can retire from 60 to 65 years old.

The retailer, which employs 30,000 staff, is just another in a line of
employers changing pension provision as longer life expectancy and lower
investment returns have made financing some pension schemes too costly.

Woolworths said that increasing the retirement age meant it could afford to
keep its final-salary pension, when many rivals were abandoning theirs.

Joan Howard, Woolworths group HR director, said the final salary scheme was
a powerful tool for recruiting, retaining and rewarding staff throughout the
group and is highly regarded by employees.

"We have had an intensive internal communications programme as well as
a pensions helpline, and have yet to receive any negative response
internally," she said.

Woolworths is the third high-profile employer in four months to announce
plans to raise the retirement age.

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