500 ex fishermen seek back pensions – Fishupdate.com

500 ex fishermen seek back pensions Published:  20 December, 2006

MORE than 500 former deep sea trawlermen from the Grimsby, Hull and Fleetwood have contacted a major insurance company to find out if they are owed back pension money, it has been revealed.

The flood of calls follows an appeal from the Norwich Union which has been looking after fishing pension schemes since the various port fishermen’s associations folded up several years ago.

Of the 570 who have been in touch with the insurance company, it is believed that a small number have either received a payout or will get one in the next couple of weeks. A large number have not yet reached the retirement age of 65 years and have been told to register their details so they can be paid if they are eligible.

Most of the men who worked out of the Humber ports during the 1960s and 1970s paid money into the Humber Fishermen’s Pension Scheme. Many never received a penny after the scheme collapsed when the fishing industry declined. Norwich Union is administering the £165,000 fund.

Exact figures of what they are owed are difficult to calculate because of the long time lag, but it is estimated that up to 1,500 men from Grimsby and more than 1,000 from Hull could be eligible. It is not known if the widows of those deckhands who have died are entitled to anything, but the Norwich Union has said it is talking to families who may be affected so there was a good possibility payments can be made if next of kin can be firmly established.

The former trawlermen, many of them struggling for years to get by on state benefits, could receive up to £2,000. The Norwich Union, which is working with the Humber Scheme and the British Fishing Association, has a list of those entitled to payments, but this includes only details of surnames, their first initial and date of birth. The company said it was keen to hand out the money and had been trying to locate those on the list through a government tracing service.

Hull West MP Alan Johnson, who is also Education Secretary, first raised the issue several weeks ago when a number of Hull trawlermen asked him if he could find out what happened to their money. He ordered an investigation and found that the funds were being administered by the Norwich Union.

The former Post Office Union chief has gone on record saying it was appalling that so many fishermen, who had been let down badly while in work, had been treated so shabbily while in retirement as well, and he believes they should receive compensation for the long delay. He has also contacted the pensions regulator and has described the situation as a “serious failure” in the way the scheme was administered.

The Norwich Union says it has been unable to trace many of the beneficiaries to trace the men on not having access to their National Insurance numbers or addresses, but those eligible would be paid as soon as possible. It is appealing to anyone who served as part of the Grimsby or Hull fleets in the 1960s and 1970s to contact the company.

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