UK - Unions have attacked beleaguered bus manufacturer Mayflower, which has ringfenced a £10m pension pot for directors while workers' benefits look set to be slashed.
The firm has gone into administration with a £20m black hole in its company accounts and a £17.7m FRS17 deficit in the £36m Mayflower Corporation Pension Scheme.
But former chief executive John Simpson – who was ousted last week ahead of the company going into administration – is able to draw a £300,000-a-year pension immediately.
The Transport & General Workers’ Union and Amicus have called for emergency talks with the employer.
T&G spokeswoman Claire Ainsley said: “We are trying to get an urgent meeting with the administrators. Information is still scarce but if – as it seems – the directors have ringfenced their own benefits, we will be asking some very strong questions.”
She added: “We want to know how the company was able to get into this state and what informed the decision to go into administration when we believe some of the companies operating in the Mayflower Corporation are still viable concerns.”
Liberal Democrat MP Sue Doughty has written to the government calling for a full investigation into the collapse – and compensation for members if benefits are cut.
She said: “How can these four directors justify their pension pot after leading the company on to the rocks? There was no annual report in 2003, there are numerous accounting discrepancies and we want the Financial Services Authority to examine why the company acted so irresponsibly.”
She added: “It is still early days and the accounting details have not yet been confirmed, but we fear the workforce could lose much of its pension entitlement. This is another case where compensation should be provided ahead of the Pensions Protection Fund.”
The four directors are reported to have plugged the deficit in their own pension fund – administered by separate trustees – with a £3.9m “catch-up” payment in December 2000.
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