The Unite union that represents two million British workers is objecting to IBM's announcement that it will cut pensions as part of its plans to survive the recession.
In a statement released today, Unite accused the firm of over-stating the situation and using the recession as "cover" for other motives.
"Unite believes that IBM can well afford to keep the existing scheme open, but is seeking to cut costs in order to make more money available for dividends, to buy back IBM shares and for acquisitions," the union said.
IBM is not the first company to make such cuts, and Unite is already investigating similar complaints about Fujitsu.
"IBM is a highly profitable company with substantial revenues and cash reserves. The company, like others in the IT sector, is using the cover of the financial crisis to erode future pension benefits for long-serving and highly skilled people," said Unite national officer Peter Skyte.
"This is a kick in the teeth to people in IBM who helped to rebuild the company when it was in difficulty. This announcement demonstrates that company loyalty is too often regarded as a one-way street in the corporate world of 2009."
Unite has clashed with IBM before. The union pointed out in February 2006, when it was known as Amicus, that changes to employee pensions would have a knock-on effect on the business and urged the firm to reconsider its plans.
Skyte said at the time that IBM's pension changes would cause a "chain reaction leading to a meltdown in final salary provision for its employees".
"The IBM chief executive stands to receive an annual pension higher than Sven Goran Eriksson's annual salary, and Amicus will be doing everything in our power to retain decent pension provision for IBM employees in the UK," he said.
IBM released its Global Citizenship report yesterday, highlighting its own initiatives including an enlarged employee training programme.
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