UK - Union Unite has warned of a "pensions backlash" from thousands of IBM employees over plans to close its final salary pension schemes to future accrual.
The IT consulting firm is currently consulting on the plans, as well as proposals to alter the terms of its early retirement scheme.
Unite, which is also in the middle of an industrial action consultative ballot at Fujitsu, said hundreds of "angry" IBM workers had joined the union since the pensions announcement.
The union calculated that typically people in their mid-50s could lose up to £200,000 as a result of these changes from the retirement pension they had expected to draw before the company's announcement in July.
It said the proposed changes would have a devastating effect on future pensions in retirement and potentially lead to between 700 and 1000 people opting for early retirement prior to April 2010 when the new early retirement provisions apply.
This announcement follows similar statements by other IT companies including by Fujitsu in May, which is also being challenged by Unite.
Unite national officer for IT and communications Peter Skyte said: "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. These highly skilled and experienced staff were 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 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 - which had around 18,000 employees in the UK - has several defined benefit pension plans and has commenced a 60 day consultation period with a pension consultative committee of employee representatives, including Unite members.
A spokesman for IBM said: "IBM is in a process of consultation as required by law during which time employees will have the opportunity to ask questions and send feedback on the proposals. It would be inappropriate to discuss further during this consultation period."
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