LLANELLI’S MP Nia Griffith is campaigning for justice for HSBC employees whose pensions have been reduced by up to £2,500 per year. After a number of former HSBC employees living in Llanelli wrote to her to raise this, Ms Griffith helped to set up a cross-party group of MPs to campaign on the issue.
Ms Griffith was one of a number of MPs who met in Parliament on Wednesday (21st November) to demand justice for the over 50,000 current and former employees of HSBC and previously the Midland Bank who have had their pensions reduced through a process known as ‘clawback’. She has been helping to coordinate the campaign as a founder member of the
Nia Griffith MP explained: “Pension clawback is a completely outdated practice whereby a company cuts an employee’s work pension on the grounds that they will also receive a state pension.
“This practice unfairly penalises the lowest paid employees, who are mainly women in this case. One female employee with a gross pension of around £3,500 lost a shocking 30 per cent of their pension income through clawback, whilst a senior manager on £75k a year would lose just 3 per cent.
“It is shocking that due to poor communication by HSBC and Midland Bank, most employees affected by clawback were not aware that it would apply to them until they hit retirement. Then a letter lands on their doorstep informing them that they could lose a huge chunk of their pension.
“This is completely unacceptable. HSBC needs to do the right thing and stop this appalling practice.”
The newly-formed All-Party Parliamentary Group of MPs, which Llanelli’s MP has been helping to coordinate as a founder member, is calling on HSBC to compensate those affected and for the company’s Chief Executive to attend the group’s next meeting and answer to MPs. The campaign is also being supported by Unite, which is the UK’s largest union representing finance workers
Clive Betts, Labour MP and chair of the all-party group, said: “There is real anger that a bank making billions of pounds a year is depriving long term and loyal former employees of the pensions they have worked so hard to earn. There is a moral imperative for them to reverse this policy now.”
Sharon McGeough-Adams, who worked for Midland Bank/HSBC for 37 years and now helps to coordinate the Midland Clawback Campaign group, said: “Clawback was never communicated to us in a clear and consistent manner.
“It was further confused by calling it a ‘state deduction’, even though it has nothing to do with the state or ‘contracting out’. Now many of the lowest paid workers, mainly women, have been plunged into financial hardship.
“Clawback is an outdated, unfair and discriminatory practice that does not belong in the 21st century. The vast majority of employers recognise this, and a wealthy bank like HSBC could readily afford to remove it.”