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£250 million is simply not enough for Philip Green to 'sort' the BHS pension scheme - says 100,000+ petitioners

Date: 28 November 2016 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett is presenting a petition with over 100,000 signatures to Arcadia headquarters on 30 November. The petitioners are calling on Sir Philip Green to deliver on his pledge to ‘sort’ the BHS pension scheme, which means offering significantly more than £250 million to make good the pension promises made to members.
John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary says: “Sir Philip Green promised MPs he’d ‘sort’ the pension scheme back in June, implying that would happen soon. Over five months later we still don’t appear to be any further forward and his derisory offer of £250 million quite simply does not go anywhere near keeping his promise.

“Every one of the current and future BHS pensioners need assurances about their future income; having seen a company that traded on our high streets for over 80 years sold for £1, then go to the wall with over 11,000 jobs lost. That requires Sir Philip to put up enough funds to deliver a better deal than the guaranteed 90% of accrued benefits from the Pension Protection Fund.

“Our priority is to see Sir Phillip do the right thing and deliver on his promise to ‘sort’ the pension fund. If he wants to recover any reputational credibility he must not haggle his way out of his responsibilities, he must make a full contribution and do it quickly. That is the least he can do for former staff, many of whom spent their entire working life at BHS.”

Voices of the petitioners: Hundreds of petitioners added comments along with their signature, here are some examples of their views:
  • “As a former BHS employee I believe that Philip Green (and his Directors at the time) have a moral duty to help protect the pension entitlements that are due.”
  • “This so called ‘knight’ has so far shown no honour to BHS employees.”
  • “Words have no currency – action is what’s needed.”
  • “Justice for the hardworking men and women of BHS. I really miss this shop's presence on the high street.”
  • “Pension contributions should never be in peril. He has got richer while his employees have now suffered. A disgrace to British business.”
  • “Nobody should lose their pension because of their boss's irresponsible actions.”
  • “I worked for Philip…we believed in BHS and even though the brand was failing we all worked very hard and went above and beyond. We never received pay rises.”
  • “Your staff served you well, Sir Philip – you owe them more.”
  • “This man’s greed is unbelievable and I worked for him.”
  • “Who needs so many yachts? His employees need their pension. Sell one of your yachts perhaps?”
  • “This man should make good the deficit to BHS pensions - people trusted him. If he doesn't keep his promise he should be prosecuted.”
  • “Hard working employees don't deserve to lose out because of your greed. Do the decent thing.”
  • “My daughters worked there, I can only think that is a total robbery of the workers and their pensions. BHS was once a respected place to work and shop.”
Notes for Editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

The petition of 107,488 names was gathered in partnership with the TUC and online petition website Care2, demanding Sir Philip honour his obligations to the BHS staff pension scheme. Representatives of Care2 and the TUC will be joining Usdaw to hand in the petition.

For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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