Old Course must withdraw 'fire and rehire’ pensions threat - union

Unison said it will ballot workers for industrial action unless the trust scraps new pension scheme proposals.

Old Course in St Andrews must withdraw ‘fire and rehire’ pensions threat, Unison union says PA Media

A union has called for the Old Course in St Andrews to withdraw what it claims is a “fire and rehire” pensions threat to workers.

Trade union Unison said that St Andrews Links Trust, which operates the world-famous Scottish golf course, wants workers to transfer from its local government pension scheme to a “much more inferior one”.

It alleged that the course’s around 70 staff members were told they would be made redundant if they did not agree to the new pension plan.

St Andrews Links Trust has refuted allegations of threats, and said the new scheme would be a generous and equitable option for staff.

Unison said it will ballot workers for industrial action unless the trust scraps these proposals.

“The proposed pension changes at St Andrews Links Trust are completely unnecessary,” Unison Scotland regional organiser Ian Fitzpatrick said.

“The local government pension scheme is more than affordable for the trust that’s behind one of the most successful golf courses in the world. St Andrews should be supporting its loyal staff through these difficult times, not issuing terrifying threats.

“No decent employer should be using fire and rehire scare tactics. This is nothing more than a weapon to force dedicated workers to vote to decrease their retirement income.

“St Andrew Links Trust board members must withdraw their vile threats and get around the table with Unison to find a solution.”

A spokesperson for St Andrews Links Trust said: “We have been in consultation with staff regarding updates to pension arrangements, which included a proposal to withdraw from the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in which 71 members of staff are enrolled.

“The LGPS was closed to new entrants in 2014 due to concerns over the increased volatility of the scheme. Today more than 250 current members of staff are not part of the LGPS.

“The consultation has been conducted in an open, genuine and collaborative fashion throughout and we strongly refute any allegation of threats as part of this process.

“The outcome has been to deliver a scheme which offers a generous and equitable pension scheme to all members of staff and which protects the Trust against the ongoing volatility of the LGPS.”

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