UK Pensions

Barclays to close final salary pension scheme

A Barclays sign is seen outside a branch of Barclays bank, in central London in this March 15, 2008 file photograph. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays has proposed closing its final-salary pension scheme for British staff, which a union said will affect 18,000 employees.

“It is proposed that benefits relating to future service would be provided for these members by membership of our market-leading hybrid cash balance pension scheme, Afterwork, in which the majority of our UK colleagues already participate,” a Barclays spokesman said on Wednesday.

The bank had started consultations with staff as part of its 2009 pensions review, and committed to ensuring its pension benefits were “equitable and remain competitive”. Benefits for existing scheme members would be locked in, it said.

Unite said there would be “deep anger” among the 18,000 staff who will be affected by the scheme’s closure.

“This attack on the pensions of the loyal and hard-working staff at the bank is utterly alarming. The union is urging the bank not to establish this change,” said Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer.

The union said it will consult with its members.

Barclays said managing costs, including pension costs, was a top priority in the current financial climate. “It is in the best interests of all Barclays employees and shareholders for us to do so,” the spokesman said.

Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Dan Lalor