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IBM faces a fight over pensions

Karl Flinders

Hundreds of angry IBM employees in the UK have been joining union Unite to fight IBM's plan to change its end of salary pension.

IBM plans to close the pension to future employees and change the terms of early retirement.

The Unite trade union said the company is using the recession as a "cover" to cut pensions.

Unite said hundreds of angry employees are now joining the union.

Unite is organising a series of meetings throughout the UK. It saidthe first meetings have been "packed to overflowing".

"IBM is facing a backlash against its pensions proposals. Hundreds of workers are joining the union determined to stand up to this unacceptable attack on their pensions," said Peter Skyte, Unite national officer for IT and communications. "These highly skilled and experienced staff are key to the company's survival and they view the company's proposals as a kick in the teeth.

"IBM is a highly profitable company with substantial revenues and cash reserves, but it is using the recession as a cloak to close its pension schemes to existing members and further line the pockets of its shareholders and senior executives at the expense of its loyal workforce."

IBM is not alone in cutting employee benefits, with the current recession used as justification. HP is cutting salaries and other benefits.

Unite calculates that typically people in their mid-50s could lose up to £200,000 as a result of these changes compared withthe retirement pension they had expected to draw before the company's announcement in July.


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