UK - Retired IBM pension scheme members are considering "militant action" because the pensions ombudsman has taken almost four years to deal with their complaints.
More than 2000 pensioners from the IBM UK pension plan say they are considering demonstrations and activism against the firm because David Laverick has taken too long to hand down a determination.
Members made their first official complaint to the ombudsman’s office in August 2000 over allegations IBM UK closed its final salary scheme illegally in 1996 and used its reserves to set up a defined contribution plan.
They also allege the computer giant failed to increase pensions in payment in line with inflation despite earlier promises that retirement benefits would be competitive with industry standards – a move that caused thousands of retired members to lose up to a third of their expected pensions.
Association of Members of IBM UK Pension Plans chairman Brian Marks says frustration over the delay in receiving a determination is at boiling point.
“It is immensely frustrating, and prejudicial to our prospects as the events in question fade from people’s memories.”
He added: “Some members favour forgetting the ombudsman in favour of activism or militancy. This could mean demonstrations of speaking to the company’s customers.”
Marks said the ombudsman delays were due to a “lack of resources”.
He added: “David Laverick has told us he is handling this case because nobody else is qualified to do so, but that he simply does not have the time.”
“They do not have enough of the right people there. Most of the ombudsman’s administration is not accountable to complainants.”
The ombudsman was unable to comment. Last month his office hired several new staff members and tabled an amendment to the Pensions Bill to appoint a deputy pensions ombudsman to help ease the workload.
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