UK - British workers are planning a high-profile protest against a German paper giant in a Maersk-style battle over pensions.
More than 350 members of the £25m Glory Mill Pension Scheme lost up to 95% of their savings when it was wound up in 2001 by the firm’s German-owned parent, Felix Schoeller. The scheme had a deficit of £12m at the time.
As it sold UK subsidiary, Felix Schoeller Imaging, prior to its collapse, the firm was not leg-ally bound to meet the minimum funding requirement.
Members hope their demonstration at a global photo-graphic conference in Cologne later this year will prompt Felix Schoeller to follow the example of Danish shipping firm Maersk which, having walked away from its Sea-Land subsidiary’s scheme, eventually compensated members.
The protest has been applauded by OPAS chief executive Malcolm McLean (pictured) who hopes it will make Felix Schoeller rethink its “immoral” axing of the scheme.
McLean believes Felix Schoeller has even more of a moral obligation to re-pay members than shipping giant Maersk, which agreed to fund up to the MFR.
“This is scandalous. You have a multinational refusing to accept responsibility for the pensions after allegedly stripping the assets of its British subsidiary, which then went under. It is saying ‘we are not the sponsoring employer so we will not put anything into the scheme’ – it is appalling.”
Felix Schoeller denied any legal or moral obligation to its workers beyond what it had already done.
A spokesman said: “Felix Schoeller always fulfilled all legal requirements regarding the funding of the scheme. This has been confirmed by our legal advisers.
“As a result, we do not see either a legal or moral obligation to former Glory Mill staff.”
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