Wednesday, 11 November 2009
From the record... ASW pensions
I raised the issue of ASW workers' pensions with the Leader of House, Carwyn Jones yesterday:
I would be grateful if you would consider making time available for either a statement from the First Minister or a debate in the Chamber on a matter that is not devolved but which has caused immense strain for a group of workers in Cardiff. I am, of course,talking about the Allied Steel and Wire workers who lost their pensions, as well as their jobs,back in 2002. I am asking for time to be set aside to discuss this here, because I believe that there are representations that the First Minister could make to Ministers in Westminster. The recommendations of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman state that the former ASW workers should be paid 100 per cent compensation for their pension losses. Those recommendations have yet to be implemented, and the unfairness of the situation is
exacerbated by the fact that the workers know that, had they saved that money themselves, they would not have lost it. Instead, they invested in a private pension and lost the lot. That is a bad message for younger workers to receive, as they may then think that investing in a private pension is a complete waste of money. We need to ensure that the First Minister does everything that he can to press the case for the former ASW workers so that they can receive 100 per cent compensation for the loss of their pension funds. I would be grateful if you could find time for such a debate in the Assembly.
Carwyn Jones: You raise an important point. Many of us remember the difficulties—and
that is an understatement—that the workers went through when they lost their pension
entitlements. It affected a large number of families in this area and I know that they are still fighting. One way of dealing with this matter might be this: if those affected feel that there are fresh representations that could be made on their behalf by the First Minister, perhaps they could communicate with the First Minister’s office to see whether something can be done on their behalf. That might be a more effective and quicker way of getting their representations across to the First Minister and of seeing whether anything further can be done for them.