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PDA eyes Ombudsman review as Boots pension trustees throw out claim


PDA eyes Ombudsman review as Boots pension trustees throw out claim

The trustees of the Boots Pension Scheme (BPS) have rejected the claims of PDA Union members who believed they were entitled to a full pension from the age of 60 years. 

The PDAU said that after receiving “detailed advice from pension lawyers” it is urging members to appeal the recent decision via the second stage of the trustees’ internal dispute resolution process – a step that must be followed before any potential review by the Pensions Ombudsman. 

The dispute arose last December when Boots management told affected pharmacists that the policy of offering an unreduced pension from the age of 60 was to be withdrawn following the company’s sale of the pension scheme to Legal & General. 

The company’s position, upheld after this initial challenge by PDAU members, is that the policy was a discretionary benefit and not guaranteed under the BPS – which describes the normal retirement age as 65. 

However, benefit statements seen by the PDAU reportedly state that full pensions are payable at 60, with no clarification that this benefit could be withdrawn. 

PDAU national officer Paul Moloney said: “While we are not confident these appeals will succeed it is important that members use the process as it is a legal requirement for internal procedures to be exhausted before the Pension Ombudsman can look at this. 

“Our intention is to continue to assist members through the process, including lodging a complaint with the Ombudsman if necessary, who will make a legally binding decision on whether the action of the trustees in removing this benefit was in accordance with the governing documents of the scheme. 

“We have yet to see any documentation that confirms beyond doubt the trustees are correct, but plenty of documentation that gives members the very clear impression an unreduced pension form age 60 was a right.”

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