Maxwell trustees examine Paramount case

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The Independent Online
THE trustees of the Maxwell Communication Corporation pension funds are examining whether the Paramount Airways Court of Appeal case could help to claw back pension money from the administrators, according to a letter to pensioners, writes Peter Rodgers.

The Paramount judgment makes administrators liable for wages, salaries and benefits, including pension contributions, if they continue to employ staff more than 14 days after a company collapses. More than 1,000 MCC staff are thought to have been employed by the administrators after the 14-day period.

The Law Debenture Trust Corporation, the trustees, said leading counsel were to be consulted to see whether the judgment embraced MCC pension contributions.

The trustees and individual pensioners are already claiming pounds 73m from the administrators. A spokesman said that if the Paramount judgment applied to MCC it would strengthen the claims of individual members of the pension scheme.

Administrators and receivers won a change in the law after the Paramount case, to allow them to keep on staff without becoming fully liable for their contracts. But the change is not retrospective.

The trustees also said in a letter this week that pension increases due on 1 May would be paid in full. The actuaries have given a preliminary view that assets already secured by the trustees now fully cover liability to pay pensions to those who retired before the scheme was wound up.