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IBM set to change UK pension plans

UK – Computer giant IBM is set to unveil proposed changes to its UK pension plans, just weeks after it said it would freeze its US defined benefit plan.

“I have invited all UK IBM managers to meetings in London and Manchester this week to discuss proposed changes to IBM UK pension plans,” said the firm’s UK general manager Larry Hirst in an internal memo.

“Once these meetings have concluded, I intend to share details of the proposals with all UK employees. We will then continue to communicate regularly and comprehensively on this important matter over the coming days and weeks.”

The company said on January 5 that it would freeze its US DB scheme and “redesign” its 401(k) savings plan by January 2008. The move prompted fears among UK employees about their own plan.

The company said at the time that pension plan changes for 2006 were under review “in several other countries”.

IPE has been reporting on the uncertainty surrounding IBM’s UK schemes since September 2004.

Postings on an IBM retiree web site cited company officials as saying that accrued pension benefits were safe.

IBM has recently made changes to its pension arrangements in Switzerland, according to the posts. Under these changes, the DB plan has remained open to employees age 50 and above.

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