Some 91 percent of Unite union members at HSBC bank have said they want to be balloted for strike action over bosses’ plans for their pensions.
HSBC is attacking workers’ final salary pension scheme. This includes the longer serving employees facing demands for significant new contributions to their pension alongside reductions in future benefits through a lower accrual rate.
They also face huge cuts to their pensions if they leave at their contractual retirement age and a cut in future protection from inflation.
HSBC announced that its half-year profits had fallen to £5.2 billion this week, due mainly to the credit crunch in the US.
But HSBC chief executive, Michael Geoghegan admitted that these were “surprisingly strong results in Europe, particularly in Britain”.
Graham Goddard, the Unite deputy general secretary, said, “These proposals are out of all proportion and will cause real hardship to our many low paid members during their employment, let alone when it comes to an end.
“HSBC has made massive profits over the years. The pension fund has been built up with the hard work of our members over many decades and the cost to the bank of keeping it going at the current rate is a drop in the ocean for HSBC, especially in light of the strong half year results for Britain.
“We are asking the bank to back off from these plans for the scheme in forthcoming negotiations with Unite. That way the tragic drop in morale the bank has seen in the many thousands of emails it has received, as well as the very real threat of industrial action, can be avoided.”
The Northern Rock bank, which was hit by the credit crunch last year and had to be nationalised, announced last week that it was to cut 1,300 jobs in the next few months.