BHS, one of Britain’s best known high street names, has collapsed. Up to 11,000 workers stand to lose their jobs, facing an uncertain future, unsure if they can pay the bills.
As if that's not bad enough, it also leaves a massive pensions deficit of £571 million. Thousands of workers won’t just lose their jobs -- they could also lose great chunks of their retirement savings.
Most of that deficit was built up under Sir Philip Green, who owned BHS for 15 years until 2015. During that time, he underfunded the pension scheme -- while paying his wife £400 million in BHS dividends, all channeled through a tax haven.
While BHS workers face an uncertain future, the Green family has been relaxing on its new £100 million superyacht. Let’s show Philip Green we won’t stand by while he sails off with BHS workers’ futures.
Philip Green: fully fund the BHS pension deficit you built up!
Philip Green offloaded BHS for the nominal sum of £1 last year, washing his hands of the struggling business and its skyrocketing pension problems. The new owners have failed to turn the business around, and now BHS faces liquidation.
But unluckily for Green, former owners of corporations can be asked to pay up to cover the pension deficits they helped to create -- even if they have sold the business. And, right now, the UK pensions regulator is deciding whether to order Philip Green to cough up £280 million -- an amount that would still see 13,000 BHS staff take a 10% cut to their pensions.
That’s just insulting. Even the head of the Institute of Directors, Simon Walker, says that Sir Philip has "moral responsibilities" over the demise of the firm and plight of the pension scheme. And MPs have said the same, after ruling that Sir Philip “systematically extracted hundreds of millions of pounds” from BHS to “fantastically enrich himself” in what they called the “unacceptable face of capitalism”.
Let’s not let Sir Philip Green get away with it. He underfunded the pension scheme while squirrelling away hundreds of millions in tax havens -- and he needs cough up the full amount. Otherwise ordinary taxpayers and pensioners will have to settle the billionaire’s bill.
As a community, SumOfUs has been fighting corporate exploitation of workers for years. Now let’s stand with BHS workers as they face an uncertain future.
Tell Philip Green to fully fund the pension deficit he built up, so BHS workers don’t lose their savings.