“Although Royal Mail’s own consultation exercise revealed massive opposition to its closure plan, the company has decided to ignore the views of its workforce and proceed with closure without consent,” said Ray Ellis, acting deputy general secretary for postal workers at the CWU.He added: “CWU has made clear that any attempt by the company to impose change without agreement will be met with the strongest possible opposition including a ballot for industrial action. We will not stand by and watch the company abandon the pension promises it made at the time of privatisation which threatens our members with massive cuts to their future pension benefits and insecurity and poverty in retirement.”Brian Scott, officer for the Royal Mail at Unite the Union, said the closure was “a cause for serious concern for a hardworking and dedicated workforce”.He added that “the important part will be the replacement scheme which we are in ongoing discussions about… We will study the implications of today’s announcement very carefully and consider all the options going forward. If we don’t achieve a satisfactory outcome, we can’t rule out an industrial action ballot on this issue.”Royal Mail said it appreciated “how important pension benefits are to our colleagues” but maintained the scheme was not affordable in its current form.“We continue to work closely with our unions on a sustainable and affordable solution for the provision of future pension benefits,” the company said. “We will write to plan members once further decisions have been made.”The CWU has proposed a risk-sharing replacement scheme with a guaranteed payout and indexation linked to investment performance. The union has said the investment portfolio would be “aggressive” and equity-based, in contrast to the majority of UK DB schemes, which tend to be predominantly invested in fixed income. Royal Mail is to close its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme to future accrual on 31 March 2018.The £7.6bn (€8.9bn) Royal Mail Pension Plan is in surplus, but this was expected to run out next year, according to an update issued this morning by Royal Mail.Employer contributions are set to hit £1bn a year, compared to the current level of £400m, “if no changes are made”, the company said.However, workers’ unions have disputed the need to close and have threatened strike action, which would hit the UK’s postal service. In a statement issued this morning, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said members of the scheme stood to lose more than £4,000 a year if they were switched to a defined contribution scheme.
DESPITE the inclement weather currently prevailing in Guyana, over 60 horses have been registered to date for the Guyana Cup Rematch horse race meet which is scheduled for Sunday at the Rising Sun Turf Club, Arima Park, West Coast Berbice.The event which is being organised by Jumbo Jet Auto Sales and Stables in collaboration with the Rising Sun Turf Club will get underway at 13:00hrs and despite the current weather pattern, turfites are expected to have their money’s worth as most of Guyana’s top horses are already entered for the day’s event. The feature race will be for horses classified `D2’ and Lower and they will contest a 1800-metre race for a $1M first prize.Among the animals so far registered for this event are: CP Got Even, Score Even, Just Call Me Boss and Princess She’s Not, Split Fire, Jack in My Style, Golden Blue, Golden Blue, lady Budapest and Light Up.Another interesting event will be the 1400-metre race for `E1’ and Lower horses that are West Indies-bred non-earners as well as U.S. and Canada-bred non-earners and this event carries a first prize of $600 000 and a trophy.There is also an event for four-year-old horses that will contest a 1400-metre race and the winner will pocket $300 000.Horses classified `H’ and Lower will battle over 1100 metres for a winning prize of $275 000 and a trophy, while three-year-old West Indies-bred horses will compete over 1400 metres for a winning prize of $225 000.There is also an 1100-metre race for three-year-old horses with a first prize of $180 000 and the J2 and K Class animals will do battle over 1100 metres for a first prize of $175 000.Horses classified `L’ and Lower will vie for the $130 000 first prize over a distance of 1100 metres.