January 19, 2007 10:25 ET

On Thursday the 25th of January the European Court of Justice delivers its' verdict on the Allied Steel and Wire pension case

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 19, 2007) - Amicus and Community unions issued a High Court claim on behalf of 1,000 pension scheme members of Allied Steel and Wire Ltd (ASW) from Cardiff and Sheerness who lost the bulk of their pensions when the company was declared bankrupt in 2002, leaving two pension funds in deficit. The UK High Court directed the case to the European Courts of Justice in November 04.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) case is a landmark against the UK Government by the unions Amicus and Community on behalf of their members formerly employed by ASW who lost their expected pensions when the company became insolvent in 2002.
The case challenged the UK Governments' past and present failure to implement a 1980 European Directive, which should have been in place by 1983. The Directive requires member states to take measures to protect the pensions of employees in the event of their employer's insolvency.

If the outcome is successful the case will come back to the UK High Court which will decide if the breaches within the UK are significant enough to make the Government pay full compensation to victims of insolvency prior to 2005 which are estimated to be around 125,000 people. The case could also have a bearing on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) set up by the Government in 2005 to protect workers pensions. This measure is not retrospective and only covers people from May 2005 onwards. PPF has limits set at 90% of people's expected pension and a cap of GBP 26,000. These may be deemed illegal.

Note to the Editor.
1.Amicus' Deputy General Secretary Graham Goddard who is also a victim of the insolvency trap will be available for interview on the Thursday 25th January, the day the judgement is announced.

2.Article 8 of the Insolvency Directive which is the EU Directive that the unions are arguing successive UK governments' have failed to implement, reads

"Member States shall ensure that the necessary measures are taken to protect the interests of employees and of persons having already left the employer's undertaking or business at the date of the onset of the employer's insolvency in respect of rights conferring on them immediate or prospective entitlement to old-age benefits, including survivors' benefits, under supplementary company or inter-company pension schemes outside the national statutory social security schemes."

Contact Information

  • Amicus
    Brian Gallagher
    07957 995 947 or 02074208993
    Amicus Press Office
    Catherine Bithell
    020 7240 8909