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Last Updated: Monday, 17 December 2007, 18:40 GMT
Pensions deal 'a great present'
Protest over lost pensions
The workers ran a high-profile campaign over their lost pensions
The news of a settlement for ex-steel workers who lost most of their pensions when their employer went bust has been hailed as a "great Christmas present".

The lives of many former employees of Allied Steel and Wire (ASW) in Sheerness, Kent, were left in tatters when the company collapsed in 2002.

The government has set out plans to restore 90% of their pension value.

Pat Wiggins said his wife "literally broke down" when he said they would now be getting some of his 12,000 pension.

The 62-year-old, who worked at ASW's Sheerness plant for 28 years, had been planning to take early retirement when the company went out of business.

"I was absolutely devastated when that happened because all my plans for the future went out of the window," Mr Wiggins said.

Andrew Parr
It'll be nice now to quietly slip into retirement
Andrew Parr

"I had to go back to work and my wife had to work.

"This has caused a lot of trauma in the community at Sheerness among people who used to work for ASW, but today has given us all a great Christmas present."

Mr Wiggins was one of about 300 people who lost their jobs.

Former employees, their MPs and union leaders have battled since 2002 over what was described as a pensions "injustice".

Andrew Parr, another ex-Sheerness worker and also part of the Pensions Action Group, said the announcement of 90% was "probably the best deal we could get".

"We could have kept on fighting for 100%, but you have to appreciate the people involved are all in their 50s and 60s.

"It'll be nice now to quietly slip into retirement and do some of the things I've been planning to do for years."

The payout of 90% of each person's expected pension is subject to a 26,000 cap.

Pension rescue scheme gets 2.9bn
17 Dec 07 |  Business

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