In November 2015 the Michelin Tyre Factory in Ballymena announced that it was closing its Truck Tyre Factory.
The company had been producing tyres in the town since 1969 and employed over 1,000 people. The company said at the time that the factory was outdated, costs to upgrade were “prohibitive ” and that it had been consulting with employees.
In mid 2018 the factory closed with the loss of many jobs, which was a huge body blow not only to the employees but also to the town of Ballymena and surrounding area.
At the time North Antrim MP Ian Paisley described the news as “apocalyptic ”.
However, many ex-employees were advised to move their pension away from the extremely generous gold plated Michelin defined benefit scheme.
This may have resulted in many ex-employees suffering additional financial losses.
One former employee described how advice on pensions was given to all members of staff who were members of the Michelin defined benefit scheme.
However, claims for compensation can still be pursued under the auspices of the Financial Conduct Authority.
However, a strict time limit of 6 years applies to cases of this nature and the clock starts ticking from the date of the advice given.
Therefore it is important that matters are thoroughly investigated at the earliest possible opportunity.
Paul Higgins, Solicitor from Pension Justice, who is based on the Wirral in England said:
A defined benefit scheme offers members a guaranteed income upon retirement. These guarantees are particularly valuable, particularly in an economic downturn that we are currently facing. The price of oil is rising, inflation is at its highest level for many years, and the tragedy in Ukraine has an adverse impact upon the Stock Market. This will inevitably lead to the reduction in the value of a defined contribution pension and have a painful impact upon the standard of living in retirement.