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PDA members to complain about recent changes in Boots Pension Scheme

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They will challenge the removal of an unreduced pension option using the disputes procedure at Boots initially

Members of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) who have benefits in the Boots Pension Scheme have sought support from their union following the recent communications from the trustees about the removal of the option to retire at 60 without a reduced pension.

The company claimed that retirement between 60-65 years old without a reduced pension was a discretionary benefit, and it has ended with the buy-in deal with Legal and General.

However, PDA members believe there is insufficient evidence to fully support this claim, and therefore they are questioning whether this option should have been secured as part of the buy in and not ended with immediate effect.

PDA Union national officer, Paul Moloney said: “Instead, we believe benefit statements issued to members, at the very least are contradictory, and clearly state that a full pension will be payable from a member’s 60th birthday, with no reference to this benefit being discretionary and therefore subject to a regular review by the trustees. Instead, the benefit statements give the impression that an unreduced pension from 60 is a right with no indication that retirement plans should not be based on the benefit statements.”

While PDA members acknowledge the advantages a buy-in can bring to the overall security of benefits, they argued that it should be done correctly.

Members who have concerns about the change can challenge this through the scheme’s disputes procedure initially, and if unresolved through the Pension Ombudsman, Moloney stated.

Following an online meeting with over 100 members affected, PDA is now sending template complaint letters setting out concerns regarding the discretionary nature of the benefit and the way it has been communicated to scheme members over the years.

PDA members who have pension benefits in the Scheme have been asked to complete the template letters and submit them to the scheme administrators as the first stage of a formal complaint.

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