UK - Firms can expect "zero tolerance" if they try to curtail pension benefits while approving fat cat deals for executives, a trade union warns.
Amicus has drawn up a tougher strategy to protect the pension rights of more than 20,000 workers in the financial services sector following a strike at Co-operative Financial Services over plans to reduce access to the £305m final salary scheme.
Union leaders – who claimed victory in the dispute after CFS offered improved terms – said the incident marked a “line in the sand” for company bosses.
Amicus national secretary David Fleming said a tougher stance would be taken against directors who pumped millions of pounds into their pension funds while slashing staff schemes.
He said: “Ordinary staff pensions have shouldered the burden of the decline in the stock market while the big bosses have been feathering their nests.
“From now on we will be exercising a zero tolerance policy to future boardroom excess and attacks on our members’ pensions.”
But the Institute of Directors hit back with pensions executive Derek Brownlee claiming such “militant language” was unhelpful.
He said: “We need employers and employees working together with incentives provided for both. There are very few cases where company schemes have been closed while plans for directors are left open, but highlighting the small minority is no doubt a good recruitment tool for unions.”
Former InterContinental Hotels Group chairman Sir Ian Prosser retired with a pension pot worth £11.4m, the annual report shows.
Prosser’s savings pot increased by nearly £200,000 between April 2003 and the end of last year and will fund an annual pension of £573,100.
Prosser, who joined the pension scheme in 1969, moved from executive chairman to non-executive chairman of InterContinental in April before retiring in December.
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MPs failed to place legislation into the Financial Guidance and Claims bill that would have made pension guidance default, which Just Group director Stephen Lowe said left a "bitter taste".
Aegon has called for the government to double the tax exemption on employer-arranged pension advice, up from £500 to £1,000.
Institutional investor confidence in Europe rose by 8.9 points in April with each region showing growing appetite for risk, according to State Street Global Exchange.