Socialist Worker

Astra Zeneca workers strike in battle for pensions

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2220

Astra Zeneca workers were to strike on Wednesday this week in their continuing fight to defend their pensions.

More than 140 GMB union members joined a four-hour strike last Wednesday at the company’s large Macclesfield site in Cheshire to protest at plans to close the final salary pension scheme.

This followed two hours of industrial action a week earlier.

Astra Zeneca has posted a 12 percent rise in pre-tax profits for the second quarter of 2010 from £1.67 billion to £1.87 billion.

One worker said, “It is scandalous. We have given more than 20 years service to this company and have previously thought what a good company it is.

“But people will be losing thousands through this.

“Bosses have upped their pension pots and taken money from ours—it’s wrong.”

Another worker on the picket line said, “Astra Zeneca bosses are sending a message that loyalty means nothing. We are devastated that they aren’t taking this seriously.

“I’ve worked for the company for 31 years and the value of my pension is frozen at 2010 levels.”

News that Astra Zeneca chief executive David Brennan is set to walk away with a pension pot of more than £12 million has angered workers.

Shocking

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny visited the picket line last week.

He said, “It is particularly shocking that, at the very time when this hugely profitable company is attacking GMB members’ pensions, its chief executive has reached third place in the UK league of the top bosses’ pension entitlements.

“Based on today’s figures, when he retires he will enjoy a pension of more than £17,500 a week.

“It is another case of boardroom greed and a culture which is summed up by ‘do as I say not as I do’.”

Astra Zeneca’s final salary pension scheme has some 2,500 active members and has been closed to new recruits for ten years.

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News
Tue 21 Sep 2010, 17:36 BST
Issue No. 2220
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