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A Westminster Hall debate has led to serious criticism of the way IBM ended its final salary pension scheme.

Sandra Gidley, Lib Dem MP for Romsey, said she had heard from many IBMers, especially those in their 50s who were hit hardest. She explained that in 2003 IBM staff were asked to increase pension contributions by 50 per cent even though the company, along with many others, had taken a pensions holiday for several years.

In 2006 more changes were made which were grudgingly accepted with the promise that funding would be in place until 2014. But in 2009 IBM made more changes.

Gidley criticised IBM's decision to run the feedback period during summer holidays when many staff were away. She said: "People will think twice about whether they want to work for a company that treats its employees so shoddily."

Christopher Huhne, MP for Eastleigh, noted that IBM made record profits in 2008 and there was no underlying reason for it to treat its staff in such a way.

Westminster Hall debates are held around a horseshoe-shaped table and aim to create a more intelligent standard of argument than the usual House bunfight.

There's a transcript here or BBC video here. ®

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