Protesters want to end pension clawback and fossil fuel financing
The annual general meeting (AGM) of the HSBC bank in Birmingham tommorow will see protests from both trade unions and environmentalists.
Outside the AGM will be Unite members calling for pension justice and climate protestors telling the bank to stop financing coal companies.
According to Unite, a practice called ‘clawback’ means that HSBC are taking up to £2,500 a year from their workers’ pension pay outs.
Dominic Hook, Unite national officer said: “It is disgraceful that this profitable and wealthy multinational bank is witholding from pensioners a significant amount of their pension.”
“Unite is calling on HSBC to address the practice of clawback which not only disproportionately penalises the lowest paid but also mainly female employees.”
Sharon McGeough-Adams, from the clawback campaign group, said:
“Thousands of pensioners, who like me worked hard for HSBC, now find themselves facing harship in old age because HSBC is denying us the pension we deserve.”
“Our campaign against clawback is because we only want the pension we were promised. HSBC needs to urgently end the injustice of its clawback policy which is causing many people to have to choose between food and fuel in their retirement.”
Clawback is the practice of cutting an employee’s company pension on the grounds that they will also receive the state pension.
The first time people are likely to become aware of it is when they reach state pension age. This could be years after they started receiving their company pension, and discover that their income has suddenly been reduced.
At the same time, protesters from Christian Aid will be calling for HSBC to stop financing companies that make more than 30% of their money from coal mining or coal power.
They are also asking the bank to stop financing new coal plants in Bangladesh, the Philippines and Indonesia and to publish a plan for phasing out fossil fuel finance and increasing finance for renewable energy.
Christian Aid’s Helen Collinson said: “While young people demand action on climate change, banks like HSBC continue to pour money into coal companies that endanger our future.”
“HSBC’s strapline is ‘together we thrive’, but by keeping the finance tap flowing for coal companies, the bank’s actions could lead to quite the opposite. The fact is that climate change is making it hard for milllions of people to simply survive.”
Joe Lo is a freelance journalist and a reporter for Left Foot Forward
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