Protest in chains

PUBLISHED: 14:25 24 August 2006 | UPDATED: 10:45 06 May 2010

Couple feared they would have no pension coming in for four years

Couple feared they would have no pension coming in for four years

A 61-YEAR-OLD man chained himself to railings outside his workplace and his wife went on hunger strike because his employers threatened to freeze his pension. Colin Ayres, of Maltings Close, Baldock, has worked as an electrician for Allied Bakeries in Car

A 61-YEAR-OLD man chained himself to railings outside his workplace and his wife went on hunger strike because his employers threatened to freeze his pension.

Colin Ayres, of Maltings Close, Baldock, has worked as an electrician for Allied Bakeries in Cartright Road, Stevenage, for 45 years.

Since he injured his back at work ten years ago he has been unable to fully carry out his job role.

After an adjustment to his contract, Allied Bakeries decided four weeks ago to terminate Mr Ayres' contract with his consent.

Mr Ayres said: "I agreed because they said I would still get my full pension. I was given 12 weeks notice and with eight weeks to go I received a letter saying I may not receive it. They said it could be frozen for four years until I am 65.

"When we thought in eight weeks time we were not going to get any money into the household it was frightening.

"We tried talking to them and writing but the letters we got back were aggressive."

Mr Ayres' wife, Elizabeth, went on a hunger strike from Saturday to Tuesday.

She said: "It's a drastic measure to take but they just weren't listening. We just got backed into a corner and we were desperate. We felt very vulnerable."

After chaining himself to railings on Tuesday, Mr Ayres was invited inside the building and offered his full pension.

A spokesman for Allied Bakeries said: "The company does not feel it's responsible for Mr Ayres' actions but the matter has been sorted out amicably. His concerns arose over a misunderstanding around his pension which has since been resolved. His pension is absolutely safe, and is ready for payment.


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