Former Telegraph part-timer wins pension fight

The Pension Ombudsman has overturned Telegraph Media Group’s decision to exclude a former part-time employee from its pension scheme.

Despite regularly working for The Sunday Telegraph each Saturday for over ten years until early 2008, Glyn Roberts was not recognised by the company as a part-time worker – which would have entitled him to benefits – but as a casual worker.

After an employment tribunal declared Roberts a part-time worker in 2006 he again attempted to join the TMG pension scheme but his claim was again rejected by the trustees, claiming he was a casual worker.

After a long-running battle Tony King, the Pensions Ombudsman, has now recognised that Roberts was eligible to join the TMG pension scheme from August, 2001.

His ruling stated:

“It is not rational for the [pension scheme] Trustees to rely on the Telegraph’s ‘continued irrational assertion’ that Mr Roberts is a casual worker in the face of the Employment Tribunal’s finding.”

He added:

“The Telegraph says that, despite the Employment Tribunal finding, it properly continued to regard Mr Roberts as a casual worker.

‘I have no doubt that the wording gives the Telegraph some discretion. But their conclusion as to who is a casual worker for the purposes of the scheme has to be consistent with the facts and consistent with the treatment of that person for other purposes.”

The Pensions Ombudsman ordered the trustees of the TMG pension scheme to calculate Roberts’s contributions for the period August 2001 to May 2008 and give him the option to secure benefits from the scheme.

Roberts told the NUJ:

“I’m delighted at this ruling. It is a just decision, as I worked for many years for The Sunday Telegraph as a regular employee, and saw no reason why the company should exclude me from its pension plan while other employees were allowed to join.”

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