The British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) is to close to new accrual, Tata Steel has told union representatives.Union GMB called Tata’s plan to close the fund “unnecessary and profoundly disappointing”, and said it was preparing a strike ballot.According to the union, the fund had £13.6bn (€17bn) in assets at the end of November last year, up from £12.6bn at the end of March. David Hulse, GMB national officer, said the union did not expect to find itself discussing closure to new accrual, following months of negotiations that got underway in November. “Throughout a long process, we have acted in good faith and negotiated constructively in trying to reach an agreement that addresses what we acknowledge to be a significant deficit in the scheme,” Hulse added.According to the fund’s most recent annual report from 2013-14, BSPS had a £1.1bn deficit in March 2013 when measured on an on-going basis.Hulse was critical of Tata’s plans to close the fund to new accrual.“We have made every effort to compromise with the company, even discussing the possibility of meeting the deficit through changes to member benefits, despite the fact the company is legally obliged to pay for the deficit and has always done so in the past,” Hulse said.“Sadly, the company rejected this offer out of hand. It appears they are hell-bent on closing the scheme and are not prepared to compromise.”He said the management of parent company Tata Steel Europe should “seriously consider their positions” after what he deemed a breakdown in trust between the scheme’s sponsor and its workforce.A spokesman for Tata said the company put forward changes to the defined benefits (DB) fund that would have balanced any changes across the entire workforce.“We believe the trade unions’ proposals to change member benefits would have unfairly disadvantaged younger scheme members, who would have had to bear most of the impact of the changes.He added: “We have been unable to come to an agreement that would have enabled defined benefit provision to continue and we will be consulting employees on a proposal to close the defined benefit scheme to future accrual.It is proposed that future pension provision will be on a defined contribution basis.BTPS is a DB scheme, with a standalone defined contribution arrangement launched in 2014.The DB section returned 1.6% over the course of the 2013-14 financial year, and 7.8% over the three years to 2014.
Vardy will break Van Nistelrooy’s 12-year Premier League record on Saturday if he scores in his 11th consecutive match when the Foxes face Manchester United. When Vardy was playing non-league football three-and-a-half years ago, few would have predicted he would have been likened to one of the greatest strikers seen on these shores in recent times. Van Nistelrooy is the 11th highest scorer in United’s 137-year history, netting 150 goals in 219 matches for the club. The Dutchman won league titles in England, Spain and Holland, while Vardy’s biggest achievement to date is helping Leicester get promoted to the Premier League in the summer of 2014. But there is no sense of snobbery from Van Gaal when it comes to Vardy’s recent scoring run. “More or less, Van Nistelrooy is like Vardy,” the United manager said. “He is highly concentrated to make goals and is always running in behind, so you can compare them.” Van Gaal knows how hard it is to maintain such a prolific scoring run. Dennis Bergkamp is the only man to have scored in 10 consecutive league games under the Dutchman – and his run came more than 20 years ago with Ajax. He also knows first hand how deadly Vardy can be in front of goal. The 28-year-old scored one and had a hand in the other four goals in Leicester’s 5-3 win over United last season. Van Gaal regards Vardy as a “nasty” threat, but one he feels his new and improved defence can cope with. ”He was last season a very nasty player for us,” Van Gaal said. ”He scored, won a penalty, and now he is scoring 10 games in a row, then you are a great player. ”I only know Dennis Bergkamp as a player who did the same with Ajax. It’s not so easy to do that. “He is a player who is difficult to defend. “It shall be difficult I think, but we can do that because we have a lot of clean sheets already.” Unlike Vardy, Wayne Rooney has struggled in front of goal so far this season. During United’s pre-season tour, the 30-year-old spoke of his determination to score more than 25 goals this season, but he has so far found the net on just two occasions in the league. Van Gaal said earlier this season that Rooney’s place in the starting XI was guaranteed because he is captain. Even if he was not wearing the skipper’s armband, Rooney would still be in the team, according to his manager. Van Gaal said: “Yes, of course (that is the case). Otherwise he is out of the team. “Wayne is doing a lot, has a very great contribution in the team. I am very satisfied with him.” Rooney started behind Anthony Martial in the number 10 position in the goalless draw against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but the captain has been told his days leading the line are not numbered yet. “At this moment, he doesn’t play in the striker’s position, Martial is playing there,” Van Gaal said. “But it is possible he shall play other matches there. It is dependent not always on the quality and shape of the player at the moment, but also the game plan. And we have to decide that every week.” Despite being second in the table after 13 matches, some United fans are unhappy with the style of football being played under Van Gaal. Dissenting voices were heard again on Wednesday when United played out their fourth 0-0 draw in seven matches. When asked whether he was worried about criticism from supporters, Van Gaal said: ”Of course, because the fans have to be happy, you are playing for the fans so you cannot deny that.” Van Gaal will be without Ander Herrera, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia for Saturday’s game. Louis van Gaal believes there are similarities between Jamie Vardy and Ruud van Nistelrooy – the man whose record the Leicester striker is attempting to break this weekend. Press Association
With Fab Melo and Rakeem Christmas relegated to the Syracuse bench, the reality hit C.J. Fair.If Baye Keita, SU’s lone remaining big man with experience at the center position, picked up one more foul over the final 4:58 against West Virginia, he too would be forced to the sideline with five fouls.And that would push the 6-foot-8, 203-pound Fair to the center spot to battle with the Mountaineers’ 260-pound big men Kevin Jones and Deniz Kilicli.‘I thought about it for a second,’ Fair said, ‘and I’m like, ‘How am I going to play that big guy?’ But luckily Baye, he played his ground well.’Keita managed to avoid that fifth foul and finished SU’s 63-61 win over the Mountaineers on Saturday. Christmas and Keita have taken on much bigger roles on the offensive end and in the heart of No. 3 Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense during Melo’s absence. But in the three games without Melo, at least one of those big men has struggled against the rugged Big East competition.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMelo will return to the SU lineup for the team’s matchup against St. John’s on Saturday after missing three consecutive games for academic reasons, according to The Post-Standard. Pete Moore, SU director of athletic communications, said in an email that he could not confirm whether Melo would travel with the Orange (22-1, 9-1 Big East) this weekend or his availability for the matchup with the Red Storm (9-12, 3-6) Saturday at noon at Madison Square Garden. Depending on Melo’s availability, the Orange may once again have to make some small tweaks to its game plan.‘We just have to adjust,’ junior forward James Southerland said of playing without Melo. ‘That’s every game, though. You adjust to what’s going on, and you make the best of it.’Melo was a force inside for SU throughout the year and seemed to get better once conference play began. He leads the Orange in blocks and rebounds per game, and his 7-foot, 244-pound frame clogged up the middle of the 2-3 zone.The sophomore is two inches taller than Keita and three inches taller than Christmas, but the major difference comes in his bulk. Melo has roughly 30 pounds on Keita and 20 on Christmas.And though Fair was concerned with how he would handle West Virginia’s big men Saturday, head coach Jim Boeheim said Christmas and Keita aren’t quite prepared for that type of competition, either.‘Those guys, they’re not really ready physically to play in this league,’ Boeheim said. ‘They’re going to have to foul sometimes. We want to foul guys like Kilicli if he’s not making shots, missing free throws. We tried to foul (Cincinnati’s) Yancy Gates the other night. Just use some fouls in that situation.’Christmas and Keita have picked up nine fouls each in this three-game stretch, but the biggest problem has been getting solid performances out of both big men in the same game.Against Notre Dame, neither could stop Fighting Irish forward Jack Cooley in SU’s only loss this year. At Cincinnati, freshman Christmas had his best game of the year, while Keita didn’t score and grabbed just one rebound. And against West Virginia, Boeheim was happy with Keita, but Christmas lacked energy.‘I thought Rakeem looked lost in space today,’ Boeheim said after the win over the Mountaineers. ‘He looked like a freshman.‘I just wondered if he was awake. I wasn’t sure. I just tried to make sure he was awake.’Melo’s return Saturday would be a huge boost for the Orange. But even if he doesn’t play, his presence alone can help SU’s other two big men.He works through things with them in practices but also gave them feedback during the game Saturday. He did not travel with the team on the road trip to Notre Dame and Cincinnati.And whether he plays or is just there on the bench against the Red Storm, Keita knows it will be a major benefit for himself and Christmas.‘Having him on the bench, talking to him all the time will help me,’ Keita said. ‘We do the same thing during games. I’ll be sitting on the bench. Rakeem, too. We keep talking all the time.’email@example.com Comments Published on February 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+
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