Capita workers go out on strike
More than 250 staff in week-long action
About 250 workers at the Stirling offices of outsourcing company Capita were on strike this week as part of a national dispute over pensions.
A picket outside the company’s Craigforth premises began on Saturday October 28 and is set to end this Saturday.
Capita — which provides business process outsourcing and professional services to the private and public sector — is changing from a Defined Benefit (final salary) pension to Defined Contribution arrangements.
Unite regional organiser Mark Lyon, who took part in this week’s Stirling picket, said members are unhappy about their pensions being downgraded.
He commented: “We’d like companies to come to us at the start of the process and explain the difficulties they are having rather than come to us with a fixed position which they are going to implement.
“It’s very disappointing that our members have had to take this action. We have 250 Stirling members on strike today. That’s the workforce who are affected.
“They have been loyal workers, many of whom have worked with Capita for decades.
“They have been paying into a pension which is in effect a deferred payment.
“This move will have a significant impact on our members’ standard of living in retirement.”
Unite point out that Capita’s own figures show staff could lose as much as £8000 per year in deferred pay in retirement.
Capita made a pre-tax profit of £309.9m on a turnover of £2744m in 2010 and last year made a pretax profit of £74.8m on a turnover of £4898m.
A spokesperson for the company said this week: “Capita is in the minority of companies still offering a Defined Benefit (DB) pension scheme to a small number, some four per cent, of our 73,000 employees, and, like many of our peers, we recognised that this arrangement is not sustainable in the long-term.
“We have been working with employees and their representatives to agree the transfer to an enhanced Defined Contribution pension scheme, which continues to safeguard employees’ accrued benefits. Unite has acted alone, without consulting its members, in rejecting outright two separate enhanced offers that we put forward in good faith, therefore denying their members a voice in this matter.
“We have robust plans in place for the handful of clients whose services may be affected.”