December 6, 2017 / 5:40 PM / a year ago

UK's Royal Mail sees progress in talks with union over pension row

Dec 6 (Reuters) - Britain’s Royal Mail said on Wednesday its mediated talks with the Communications Workers Union (CWU) to end a row over plans to replace the firm’s defined benefit pension scheme were advancing.

The CWU has been at odds with Royal Mail since April over its plans to save billions of pounds on its pension contributions and has attempted to call a strike.

“Mediation has helped both parties to better understand their respective positions,” Royal Mail said.

Royal Mail, which appointed Lynette Harris of Britain’s Central Arbitration Committee in October to mediate, said the mediator recommended Royal Mail and CWU commit to introducing a collective defined contribution (CDC) scheme with a defined benefit element.

Royal Mail was privatised four years ago and is one of the few big British firms to still have a defined-benefit pension scheme, which pays out a proportion of a member’s final salary determined by length of service.

The mediator also recommended establishing a pensions forum to lobby the government to make the necessary legislative and regulatory changes so that a CDC scheme could be established.

“Agreement on certain issues is more advanced than on others but all issues remain open for negotiation and final agreement,” Royal Mail said.

CWU was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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