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Barclays bank staff on the verge of striking

After the recent announcement that Barclays bank is to close down the company's final salary pension scheme to new entrants and transfer those existing members to a hybrid cash pension scheme, an informal poll by the Unite union has indicated 92% support potential strike action. While to some extent Barclays bank was forced into the proposed change to the pension scheme, with a £2.2 billion deficit emerging, this does not help UK employees looking to protect their retirement income.

As we have covered on numerous occasions, final salary pension schemes, which guarantee a percentage of a member's final salary as a pension, are virtually extinct in the UK. A mixture of falling investment returns, longer life expectancy for the UK population and growing pension fund deficits have prompted many smaller and blue-chip companies to make changes. It is difficult to find a balance between protecting a company's cash flow and protecting an employee's future pension with many expecting the UK government may be brought in to clarify the situation.

Even though this is by far the most high-profile potential backlash against pension fund changes, Barclays bank is only one of a raft of companies looking to make significant changes to their pension scheme arrangements.

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