The Association of Members of
IBM UK Pension Plans (AMIPP)

This page created 11 Aug 2002  Last update 31 March 2010

More Information for Employed Members


All scheme members become retirees eventually, unless they die first, but there are some topics that are only relevant at or before retirement - contributions, choice of scheme, AVCs, salary sacrifice, lump sums from pension sacrifice...

31 March 2010.  Here, just for the record, is an extract from the home page of that time:

This message is an alert to the current exodus.  (We use the term "exodus" in the sense "a journey by a large group to escape from a hostile environment", to cover the current leavers.)  You can reasonably expect that if anything good comes from the Trustee effort it will apply to categories of scheme member - you will not have to be joined individually in order to benefit.  The same is likely for the main IPIG effort, although your conscience should prick you if you gain from that effort without having donated.  The same is NOT true for the Employment Tribunal.  You should not expect corporate ethics to extend to saying "Person A got compensation via the tribunal and we treated B similarly so we will compensate B as well".  To have a prospect of compensation from this direction you need to take individual action in the short term.

The AMIPP forum has an outline of the "gamble" involved and the mechanism.  For the full story one needs to register with IPIG.  Please help make sure that everyone eligible to use the Employment Tribunal knows that they have only a limited time in which to start the process.

29 January 2010.  Here, just for the record, is an extract from the home page of that time:

  January 14th.  You can watch the debate about IBM on a PC.  Or read it from Hansard.

  January 12th.  The House of Commons business for this week shows a short debate on IBM, on Wednesday .  You  might want to alert your MP.

  December 14th.  Some of you will have received, through AMIPP mechanisms, an email with a link enabling you to respond to a survey about how people retired early from IBM.  In principle you should regard this as like any other external link you reach - with suspicion.  AMIPP is not responsible for the content of its external links.  However, in this particular case we believe that IPIG is run by competent folk with no ulterior motives and that if you volunteer your email address it will only be used in ways you could reasonably expect - the same as with AMIPP.  If you did not receive such an email there is no reason to query why not - this had some element of pilot exercise and it was not intended to reach everyone known to AMIPP.

  December 9th.  This a stressful time for employees who might become part of the big age-related jobs reduction IBM UK will make early in 2010.  The nominal date for decisions is December 11th - the individual has to make a decision that will deliver a signature to IBM by then.  There have been two new inputs in recent days, adding to the uncertainty provoked by IBM's decision (against entreaty from many directions) to insist on answers before the legal position is at all clarified.  One input was from the Trustee, and the other from IBM.  The former contained hurdles on discussing it with colleagues or advisers.  The latter has been seen as a small concession but is so obscurely written that even those who have followed the topic in detail are unsure what it says.  (See the forum for more).   Despite their hard work, Pension Services has been overwhelmed - illustrations of prospective pensions delayed, emails unanswered, etc. 

It is obviously unsatisfactory that employees should be making decisions in such circumstances.  The IBM Pensions Interest Group has paid for draft wordings by solicitors that employees can tailor to express their reservations, to IBM.

Robert Tickell becomes a trustee-director as a result of topping the poll in the recent election.

  December 1st.  The next newsletter will not be soon, although some items for it are accumulating.  So it is worth pointing out that some postings on the forum are of immediate relevance.  In particular, those expecting to retire in the present purge will find practical advice on how to turn unused holiday into tax-advantaged cash, who they can invite to their leaving celebration/wake, what their chances are for JobSeekers Allowance and so on.  Perhaps those who read this home page will tell those who don't?  Even though there is a search facility it isn't easy to find things on the forum - here are a couple of links to more general items (use the "next" button after following the link).  There is an Early Day Motion that you could urge your MP to sign up to.  EDMs do not directly achieve much, but are influential if enough MPs sign since, for example, that helps those MPs who are pushing for a relevant debate (as some Hursley-local MPs are).  The activities of the IBM Pensions Interest Group (IPIG) are also important.  IPIG newsletters ask that their content should not be copied.  However, it is reasonable to say that IPIG is showing itself as organised and purposeful.   The way the system works,  if individuals representative of employees get joined into the Court activity instigated by the Trustee then those individuals will not run the risk of having costs awarded against them.  (IBM scheme members in the past have been unable to benefit from the law because that risk far exceeded the potential benefit to one or two people from successful action.) 

  The employees who were elected as MNDs retired, leading to the unsatisfactory situation where no MND had access to the IBM intranet and the MNDs were consequently less well informed than the employees.  In mid-September a vacancy arose, and the Trustee has now arranged an election to fill it.  Reasonably, the candidates and voters are restricted to being actives and the voting will be electronic.  There are seven candidates.   None claim membership of a trade union.   Robert Tickell will be the most familiar name because of his association with the Pensions Consultation Committee.  Actives have until 3rd December to vote.

 The  trustee has plans to ask a judge about IBM bad faith.  You may feel (judging by the company reaction to the employee submissions during consultation) that Armonk is unconcerned about employee relations or the longer term company prospects.  It is more difficult for Armonk to ignore the trustee (which has the money to use the Courts) or the Pension Regulator (who has powers to order companies to do things.)   October 29. (See also the first link in Newsletter 41).

 Trustee-director resignation. Brian Marks has provided these notes on his resignation.  26 September 2009

 Pension Saving Relief  September 9. (fuller version)   The TUC does a sturdy job of defending civil service pensions but note that the headline version of this research "Taxpayers are paying 2.50 for subsidising the pensions of the richest one per cent of the population for every pound spent on paying pensions to retired public servants such as nurses, teachers and civil servants"  is logically flawed.  Tax relief is not the same as taxpayer spending.  Saving for a pension attracts tax relief.  If there was no tax relief there would be less saving.  The arithmetic that assumes unaltered saving but without tax relief represents a tax input to the Treasury that could never be achieved. (However, an exaggeration in presentation does not prove the main thesis wrong - that the relief is being misdirected.)

Acronyms   A selection which may help when reading the forum. 7 August 2009 

Unite Newsflashes:   List

Forum Summaries for Consultation period: One Two Three Four Five  Six  Seven  Eight Nine Ten Eleven&Twelve 

8 November 2009 Update.

26 September 2009  Trustee-director resignation. Brian Marks has provided these notes on his resignation.

14 August 2009.   Newsletter 40  and Letter to MPs are relevant.

25 July 2009 - The PCC election page now also has a description of how the C-Plan candidates are organised.  The Documents section has a list of relevant documents that have been stored.

19 July 2009 - 1985 Handbook added to documents.

15 July 2009 - Advice from the UNITE union.  (Also IBM specific leaflet)

13 July 2009 - PCC election page introduced.

29 June 2006 - This page linked to from the Home page.

29 June 2006 - How a Trade Union sees the IBM situation.

12 February 2006 - Considerations for employee choices.

29 August 2005 - Transfer Values

22 February 2004 - The mechanics of AVCs.

24 Aug 2003 - Unions and Works Councils

28 Aug 2002 - Underfunding, Closure and Termination

Employees will share some concerns with all the members, about how IBM is managed, accounting, buybacks, and particularly layoffs. They are particularly concerned with pensionable pay, and with the low value of the M-plan or the possibilities of being forced out of C-plan.  We plan to add to this section, but meanwhile here is what the deeds say about pensionable pay.  You can't draw any comfort from reading this (since the "Excluding" section has a couple of "any other"s that effectively say IBM can make anything into nonpensionable pay), except where there are explicit inclusions. 

Paraphrased, the deeds say that in 1983, for the C-Plan, bonuses, commissions, overtime earnings and shift allowance were moved from pensionable to nonpensionable. (That is the change from (b) to (a) below.)  Since that cannot effect M-plan members the deeds wording for them is simpler.

If you are in the M-plan read the red bits below.  If you are in the C-plan read the blue bits.  Either way read the black and green bits.


Pensionable Earnings

(a) in relation to a C Plan Member for any period commencing on or after 6th July 1983 and in relation to a B Plan Member, means the greater of:

Pensionable Salary

means in relation to a Member of the Money Purchase section means the greater of:-

(i) his gross basic remuneration from the Employer during the relevant period:


an amount equal to any London Allowance which has been continuous payable to him since before 7th August 1993 (unless he commenced his present period of Pensionable Service on or after 7th August 1993) in payment; and


bonuses: commission; overtime earnings; benefits in kind; any allowance payable to a Member in lieu of a motor car normally supplied by an Employer;   any element of shift allowance; any payment made to the Member in lieu of all or part of surrendered holiday entitlement; any payment made to the Member under the Customer Satisfaction Plan; any payment made to the Member under the Business Achievement Incentive and/or the Sales Incentive Plan; any payment made to the Member under any announced Variable Pay Scheme; any other fluctuating emoluments; and any other additional monetary amounts (if any) payable by way of. or in respect of. expenses incurred whether or not such additional monetary amounts are taxable:


(ii) if the Member's earnings are subject to an incentive plan, his Reference Salary including excluding an amount equal to the London Allowance (where applicable):

 (b) in relation to an N Plan Member or an E Plan Member for any period of one year and in relation to a C Plan Member for any period of one year ending before 6th July 1983. means his monetary remuneration from the Employer chargeable to tax as an income of his office or employment for that year:


an amount equal to the London Allowance payable to a Member (if any) and (from the date of receipt only): bonuses: commissions; overtime earnings; any element of shift allowance; and Director's fees.


(The things in green above)

 "Reference Salary" means, in relation to a B Plan, C Plan or M Plan Member (whose earnings are subject to a Sales Incentive Plan) his annual target earnings (commonly known as "100% salary") as determined from time to time by the Employer.

(There are also some relevant rules about ill-health and an Inland Revenue maximum.)

Where the deed quotes above use capitalised terms it means the term is defined elsewhere.  However, that doesn't help much.  "Business Achievement Incentive", for example, is defined only as "a plan operated by the Principal Employer".