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Former Shell Exec Paddy Briggs comments on the article: Anger at Shell’s golden handcuffs

 

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Sunday 11 May 2008

Former Shell Exec Paddy Briggs comments on the article:

Anger at Shell’s golden handcuffs

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/may/11/oil.royaldutchshell1

Paddy Briggs comment:

Meanwhile many thousands of Shell Pensioners in the UK , many  of whom are old and infirm,  struggle on Pensions which are less than half of the national miniumum wage and have to put up with a rise of 4% ( = £200 per year, or less, for many).

There is a common pattern here – greed mendacity, selfishness and, most culpable of all, stupefying ignorance. Add to this a meanness of sprit – no wonder many of us in the Shell afterlife feel that we don’t know the company at all any more.

Related Article…

Shell fat cat management unwilling to allow needy Shell pensioners to benefit from multi-billion windfall profits

Paddy Briggs resigns from Shell Pensioners Association National Committee because Shell unwilling to consider sympathetically proposals for a special pension review for thousands of Shell pensioners, many very elderly, struggling on low pensions which have failed to maintain their real value in recent times. (Condensed from Paddy’s resignation letter below)

FROM SPA News (Shell Pensioners Association) Issue 142: Spring 2008

Supplied by a Shell source

Front Page

Company says no to a discretionary adjustment above RPI

Annual pension increase pegged a four per cent

Shell UK company chairman James Smith has confirmed a four per cent pensions increase for this year following an exchange of correspondence with SPA chairman Bob Craig.

Bob had called for an increase above the retail price index (RPI) figure for 2007 of four per cent. He wrote: “As we have pointed out in recent years, the real cost of living increase for pensioners is considerably higher than that reflected by the published retail price index. Pensioners are facing this situation year after year and you will appreciate that over a number of years, the cumulative effect means that, in real terms, their incomes are reduced substantially compared to their expectation, as Shell pensioners, of a high level of protection from inflation”.

Reply

In his reply, James wrote:

‘I understand the arguments put forward by the SPA for a discretionary increase above RPI and I recognise that such increases have been given in the past. I have to judge, however, whether such an increase would be justified or prudent.”

He explains that the Company feels it should maintain a consistent approach by adhering to the commitment made in the Trust Deed and Regulations and setting the pension increase in line with RPI. He also claimed that Shell’s approach to pension increases compares very well with peer arrangements.

All change at AGM

New faces will be the order of the day when the SPA meets for its AGM in Shell Centre on 22 April, with changes to the line-up of the national committee and a new president.

Derick Massey has completed five years as a committee member and, under the rules of the association, has to stand down. Paddy Briggs, Dave Gardner and Sylvia Sellers have resigned from the committee for personal reasons (see From the editor on page two).

Four members have been nominated to fill the four posts so there will be no election at the AGM.

Chris Fay has decided to stand down following the AGM and Jyoti Munsiff has agreed to succeed him as president. We will cover these appointments fully in the next issue of SPA news.

Page 2

Changing faces

As editor, I work closely with the national committee, which will be without some familiar faces after the AGM.

Paddy Briggs’ reasons for leaving are set out in his own words on the letters page, where he has the same right to express his personal views as any other member. I will miss his robust and often colourful contributions to the meetings and his strong support of SPA news.

I would like, however, to pay tribute to three other members of the national committee who are leaving without fuss or fanfare. Dave Gardner and Sylvia Sellers are both standing down – Sylvia to concentrate on her work for Selkent branch and Dave because of health problems. I will miss their advice and guidance and wish them both well.

Derick Massey – one of the hardest working committee members – has come to the end of his term of office. It is thanks to Derick’s efforts that we have been able to run regular articles offering benefits to members in the area of insurance and I hope he will continue to contribute to SPA news.

Strong candidates have come forward to take their places and I look forward to working with them.

Page 10: Letters to the Editor

From Paddy Briggs

My resignation

My decision to resign as a member of the national committee of the SPA is reported elsewhere in this issue – thank you for making space available to me to explain to members of the association why I have decided to leave.

When I stood for election to the national committee in 2004, I did so on a platform which said that I would ‘… seek to enhance the role of the SPA’ and ‘… to defend pensioners’ rights and to extend benefits and over the past three years I have done my best to honour this commitment and the confidence placed in me by the electorate. However recent events have caused me to review my position:

It is now clear to me that Shell is unwilling to recognise the unsuitability of the RPI as a measure of pensioner cost inflation. 

The SPA has argued strongly, and with plenty of back-up evidence, that there is a strong case for ‘catch up’ increases to the Shell pension (which are permitted within the SCPF Trust and which have occurred in the past). These arguments continue to be rejected by the Company which has also indicated that they are unlikely to apply any such increases in the foreseeable future.

The Company has agreed to offer additional support to the Shell Pensioners Benevolent Association charity and the SPA is right to welcome the relief this will give in some hardship cases. But Shell was unwilling to consider sympathetically proposals, which I strongly supported, that there should be a special pension review for the thousands of pensioners, many very elderly, who are struggling on low pensions which have failed to maintain their real value in recent times.

In the circumstances I must conclude that my presence on the SPA national committee cannot possibly honour the commitments on which I was elected. I will remain a member of the SPA and wish you well in your important work. I value the friendships I have made since I became involved with the SPA and if any SPA members would like to stay in touch with me I would be delighted to hear from them by e-mail: [email protected] tel. 020 89771712 or mail: 40 Broom Park, Teddington, TWll 9RS).

Editors note: The SPA committee wishes to make clear that, while it respects the wishes of Paddy Briggs to express his own views, the SPA does not share or endorse the opinions expressed in his letter of resignation.

EXTRACTS FROM SPA END

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