Kirkcaldy BHS staff blast Philip Green’s pension deal

editorial image
0
Have your say

Sir Philip Green’s deal to bolster the BHS pension fund is too little too late according to former Kirkcaldy BHS staff.

On Tuesday the Topshop tycoon - said to be worth £3.8bn – agreed a £363m cash settlement with the Pensions Regulator to help plug a £571m gap in the BHS scheme.

Under the deal, workers will get the same starting pension they were originally promised, but protection against inflation is weaker.

Former workers at the Kirkcaldy branch were less than impressed.

One worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Press: “Old colleagues are saying they are glad they are finally getting what they are due but they feel it should have been done a long time ago.

“If the pension deficit had been tighter and properly managed we might still have our jobs because that proved to be the biggest stumbling block to getting another company to buying BHS.”

John Hannett, of union USDAW said he was pleased that Sir Philip had “ finally put his hand in his pocket, having promised to ‘sort’ the pension scheme last June.”

He added: “It is difficult to understand why this saga has been allowed to continue and why we have had to campaign for so long to get justice for our members.

“Whilst the details are still not clear, we sincerely hope that this settlement does provide the BHS pensioners with a better deal than they would have got through the Pension Protection Fund.”

Philip Green came under intense fire when the company was called into administration in March last year - accused of raiding BHS’ pension coffers before selling the firm on to former bankrupt Dominic Chappel for just £1.

A parliamentary investigation resulted but it took until this week for a deal to be forthcoming.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Sir Philip said his voluntary contribution “of up to £363m” was the “goal from the outset”.

He added: “Once again I would like to apologise to the BHS pensioners for this last year of uncertainty, which was clearly never the intention when the business was sold in March 2015.

“I hope that this solution puts their minds at rest and closes this sorry chapter for them.”

However, former staff in Kirkcaldy disagree.

She said: “Green should still be investigated. What he put in was a drop in the ocean to him - I think he did the deal as a way to halt being stripped of his knighthood.”

Roger Mullin MP, said: “I am pleased that at last Philip Green has been forced to make a sizeable contribution to the BHS pension fund.

“Hopefully this will lead to greater security for former BHS employees, but we must wait to find out the details.”