Second major change to UK scheme in three years designed to give parent company financial certainty

Lend Lease is to overhaul its UK pension scheme for the second time in three years, in a move that is thought to have sparked unrest among long-serving staff in its construction business.

The firm has informed staff it will be changing its defined benefit “index-linked” pension scheme, which allows employees to access a pension that rises in line with inflation. The scheme, which closed to new entrants in 2006 but remained open to existing members, is believed to have been the most generous pension provision offered by the firm since it stopped its final salary scheme in 2008.

Lend Lease opened a consultation in June to level out the benefits package across its UK operations, which include its contracting and housebuilding businesses, formerly known as Bovis and Crosby until a rebrand earlier this year.

Staff have been told that the move, which only affects active or working members of the firm’s index-linked pension scheme, is designed to give the company more certainty over its financial commitments.

The scheme is believed to be the most generous pension provision offered by the firm

Senior long-serving staff from the former Bovis business are understood to be among those in discussions with the firm amid concern over the impact on their benefits.

Some of these staff are now thought to have been hit twice by changes, as when the final salary scheme was shut down it is understood some of its members were transferred to the index-linked scheme.

The move is the latest change in a turbulent year for Lend Lease’s UK construction arm, which Dan Labbad - Lend Lease’s Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) chief executive - has been repositioning since it was brought under his stewardship last summer.

The company recently appointed Michael Dyke from National Grid as executive director of its EMEA construction and project management business, including UK construction. Several senior staff, including former Bovis chief executive Nick Pollard, have departed over the same period.

A Lend Lease spokesperson said: “We are under consultation with some employees regarding possible changes to pension arrangements. As this is an internal matter it is not appropriate for us to make any further comment.”