The reported concessions from Barclays' senior management in response to the strike threat and demonstration organised by UNITE over the plan to close the final salary pension are good news. It seems unlikely this progress would have been made without the pressure staff have applied.
But let's be clear - phasing in contribution increases only delays the pain and doesn't deal with the reduced pension provision, which is surely the main issue. Barclays still proposes to close the final salary scheme.
Any pension scheme member would welcome their employer putting in more to pay off the deficit, which helps make pensions more secure. But this won't impact Barclays' overall balance sheet - it means moving some of the company's huge profits from one part of the balance sheet to another, reducing both their assets and their liabilities.
Given the huge profits Barclays announced, there can be little doubt that the company can afford to maintain a good defined benefit pension scheme. As the Grangemouth workers put it - "Mind the GAP":
- Greedy Employer
- Affordable Pensions
- Profitable Company