Hull MP battles for trawlermen's 'lost' pensions –

Hull MP battles for trawlermen’s ‘lost’ pensions Published:  03 March, 2011

THE plight of former trawlermen from Hull, Grimsby, Aberdeen and Fleetwood who have been denied their rightful private pensions  was raised in the House of Commons last night by Hull West MP Alan Johnson.

Mr Johnson, Home Secretary in the last Labour Government, has been campaigning to ensure that the fishermen who lost their jobs after the Cod War settlements receive their full rights over compensation and pensions. The fishermen paid into a type of private pensions scheme during their working lives at sea, but many have not received their proper payments, partly because of poor record keeping at the time. In some cases the trawler firms at the time failed to log the fishermen’s national Insurance numbers with their pension records, which meant it was now difficult to trace claimants.

Mr Johnson, who last night attempted to enlist the support of fellow MPs from all sides in the Commons, said it was an appalling injustice that so many fishermen had been denied their full  pensions. Many fishermen  have since died without receiving anything.

He says on his website: “.Although the trawler owners received generous payments and grants, the trawlermen received nothing. There were no assistance programmes, no retraining and no redundancy. Working with the British Fishermen’s Association who had been fighting for over 20 years, I was finally successful in ensuring that nearly £50 million in compensation was paid out to distant water fishermen from all ports with the majority going to men from Hull.

“Now it seems that after being treated so badly when they were thrown out of their jobs, they are being let down in their retirement as well.  I am working to get the money that the men put into their pensions paid out to them. This may seem straight forward as it’s the only fair thing to happen but instead I have uncovered an unbelievable story of missing records, incomplete records and general bad management.”

Aviva Insurance (formerly Norwich Union) , which now managing the pension fund, says it has so far managed to trace the record of around 6,000 fishermen, but the records of many more are still unaccounted for.