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HP takes hard line on staff super

HP takes hard line on staff super

Sixty Hewlett-Packard staff are pursuing a personal grievance claim against the company, after it withdrew a superannuation fund, according to current and former staff. At issue is the company’s plan to close down a superannuation scheme provided as part of the employment package of many long-term staff.

“The company paid contributions into the fund and [matched] the employees’ [payments] dollar for a dollar, or even better in some instances, and then they decided to close the fund down… and wouldn’t compensate [the employees] when withdrawing that scheme,” says one HP employee.

According to another industry source, the original HP staff in New Zealand were offered lower salaries plus 12.5% of their salary in superannuation. Now the fund has been closed, they consider themselves out-of-pocket.

HP’s spokesman Stephen Robertson said last week that “after lengthy conversations” the company had no comment.

According to a HP staff member, the claim has been in mediation for some time and negotiations have now reached an impasse.

“The company is taking a really hard line,” they say.

HP has offered one year’s payment as a form of compensation, says the employee, but only if all 60 employees agree to take it — if not, no one can take it.

“But what we are talking about is a 12.5% reduction in salary,” the employee says.

Specific superannuation legislation could apply to the case, says Joanne Watson, partner of Ruby Law in Hamilton, and a member of the Law Society’s Employment Law Committee.

Under employment law, if the superannuation fund was a term and condition of employment and a part of the employees’ total remuneration, the employer can’t just withdraw the scheme, she says. Most superannuation schemes are governed by trustees under specific terms.

For the full story, go to http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/42FBC12E3E5AA7A6CC257284000D4135


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