Unilever closes final salary pension scheme

Food and household goods giant, Unilever has become the latest firm to announce plans to close its final salary pension scheme.

The Anglo-Dutch business, which makes many global brands including Dove soap and Magnum ice cream, said it would begin a 90-day consultation with staff over the scheme. The scheme has 7,000 members.

The scheme which has a £680 million deficit, stopped accepting new members in 2008.

The final-salary pension scheme was once seen to be an attractive perk that came with joining a large company.

Similar schemes at Asda, Northern Rock, Aviva, Taylor Wimpey and Tate & Lyle have been closed by the respective managements as they were found to be too expensive to run, given that staff now live much beyond what actuaries had envisioned.

According to Unilever it planned to replace its final salary scheme with two defined benefit options by January 2012. The firm's UK and Ireland chairman Amanda Sourry said the changes had been proposed to help tackle the increasingly unaffordable and unsustainable costs associated with Unilever's UK pension fund.