Labour MP Sue Hayman has called an emergency meeting in Workington for local British Steel pensioners, because the company has refused to hold one in Cumbria to explain changes to their pension scheme.
She is urging all local members of the British Steel Pension Scheme to come to a meeting at the Carnegie Theatre in Workington at 4.30pm on Friday 27 October to ask any questions they may have. Trade union officials and Leader of Allerdale Borough Council, Alan Smith will be present.
Thousands of pension scheme members, both retired and working, only have until December to choose between moving their pension into the Pension Protection Fund or into the New British Steel Pension Scheme.
The choice affects many of the 250 people who lost their jobs when Workington steel works closed 12 years ago, along with around 500 other steel pensioners from Moss Bay, Salterbeck and other plants, along with current employees at TSP Engineering Workington (formerly Chapel Bank).
But the nearest roadshows organised by the pension scheme to explain the changes are in Teesside and Motherwell, over 100 miles from Workington – with local pensioners being told to find information through a website.
Now Sue has decided to hold her own meeting, along with Alan Smith, the local branch secretary for retired members of the pension scheme.
Sue said: “It is a disgrace that the British Steel Pensions Scheme can treat its members in this way.
“They are holding roadshows and information events in Teesside, Motherwell, Sheffield, Walsall and other places, but nothing within 100 miles of Workington.
“I met with the scheme trustees and the trade unions only last week to discuss the pension changes, and I was told there would be roadshows that would be easily accessible to all. Clearly that is not the case for Workington pensioners and I am writing to the Chair of Trustees, Allan Johnston, to ask for an event in Cumbria so that my constituents are not disadvantaged.
“In the meantime, I have organised a meeting for next Friday in Workington so that BSPS members can at least discuss the issue together and with their trade unions.
“I would urge all BSPS scheme members, retired or working, to come along to the Carnegie at 4.30pm on Friday 27 October. If they have questions that the unions can’t answer, then I will take them up with BSPS myself.”