pension rights at risk


Up to 40,000 pensioners at Turner and Newall, the asbestos giant, may lose some or all of their pension rights if the company winds up their scheme. The company, now owned by the US company Federal-Mogul, was a car parts firm that used to make asbestos. Workers from the firm, including British and South African claimants who now suffer from mesothelioma, had to fight to win compensation, although records from company archives showed management was aware of the deadly nature of asbestos from as early as 1942.

The firm then went into voluntary bankruptcy in an attempt to protect its assets, with a winding-up deficit of £875 million. Creditors who hold the purse strings now say there is no more money. Up to 17,500 current and former employees could lose up to 70% of their pensions and 22,000 others could lose inflation-linked rises.

Next year the government is intending to introduce its Pension Protection Fund to protect pensioners from collapsed, defrauded or mismanaged pension schemes, a move which may come too late for those who worked for this company.