Defined Contribution  

Asda under fire for planned pension scheme changes

Asda under fire for planned pension scheme changes

Proposed changes to Asda’s defined contribution (DB) pension scheme have been branded a “slap in the face” to employees by Usdaw, the shopworkers trade union.

According to Usdaw – the trade union for Asda staff in Northern Ireland - the retail company is currently running a 60-day consultation on several proposals.

If applied, these changes would result in scheme members having less choice about saving for their retirement, the death in service provision reducing from four times pay to one times pay for everyone, as well as the company no longer matching staff pension contributions. 

Michala Lafferty, Usdaw area organiser, is calling on the company to withdraw their proposals and engage in talks with the union.

She said: “We understand that there must be statutory changes to the pension, but Asda has seen this as an opportunity to make additional changes in order to save money at the expense of staff, rather than take an opportunity for the company to improve their pension offering.

“This is a slap in the face for our members.”

A spokesperson at Asda said: “We are currently consulting with our colleagues on proposals to amend our pensions scheme.

"We are taking all comments and feedback on these proposals seriously before any final decisions are made."

Ms Lafferty called the proposed changes to the terms and conditions of the scheme “unfair, unreasonable and unnecessary”.

She said: “Pensions are not a bonus or gift – they are based on earnings and are effectively deferred wages.

“Usdaw believes it is an entitlement and we view this proposal as nothing more than a wage cut.”

Usdaw is UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 430,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

maria.espadinha@ft.com