AWE Pensions dispute settled with pay increases

An industrial dispute over pensions at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) dating back to November 2016 has been resolved with members of the Unite union accepting a three-year pay deal. The dispute was caused by the decision by AWE management to change staff pension plans from a defined benefit scheme to a defined contribution basis instead, with the company making a smaller contribution than under the previous scheme.

According to the Unite press release, under the old scheme workers paid 10% of their salary into the scheme, and the company paid 26%, and in the new scheme workers are paying in between 3% and 8% with the company paying between 9% and 13%. Unite members have decided to accept the changes to the pension scheme in exchange for an increase in pay of 4% over the next three years.

Unite regional officer Bob Middleton said: “Basically, our members have voted to accept a substantial pay increase now, rather than continuing the pension dispute indefinitely which would not have been in the interests of all the parties involved. Given all the circumstances, this is the best possible deal available.˝

Coverage in the Basingstoke Gazette suggests that local Conservative MPs Kit Malthouse and Richard Benyon helped bring about a deal by raising the issue of the strike in Parliament, and carries a quote from Mr Malthouse. However, Unite's press release does not make any mention of the two MPs.

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