Hundreds of former Hewlett Packard employees are gearing up to protest at the company's Winnersh-based headquarters over an ongoing pension dispute.

After attempting to negotiate with both the company and central government over the past six years, the protesters say this is the 'last resort' in finding a solution after years of 'exploitation'.

The issues surround inflation and due to legislation that was raised in 1995, pensioners who worked at the company before 1997 told the Chronicle that they have lost up to £100,000 over the past 20 years.

Hewlett Packard Pension Association chairman Alan Evans explained: “There are around 4,000 people whose pension is being roughly eroded by inflation. There have only been three increases in 20 years. Two lots of one per cent in 2004 and in 2008, and in 2023 they granted a three per cent increase.

“We were really disappointed this year in 2023, given the level of inflation which ran into double figures, that we received no further increase.

“During that 20-year period, inflation has risen by 70 per cent, and the only increases we have had in pension total five per cent so we are 65 per cent worse off.”

The 1995 Pension Act that was enforced for business in 1997 states that after that year pensioners are guaranteed that they will receive an increase in their pension every year as inflation increases.

Whereas those who worked in the company before 1997 are subject to no discretionary increases and there is little to no guaranteed protection for occupational schemes.

As a result the former employees will take to the picket lines in the coming weeks to call for change.

Chairman Alan added: “The research that we have done makes us believe that 90 per cent of companies who have our type of pension scheme make inflationary payments of some discretion for pre-97 service. The remaining 10 per cent, which have a significant number of pensioners are subject to no discretionary increases.

“Some people are now having to rely on benefits to stay within the breadline which is one of the issues we have tried to take up with governments in the past. Why should the taxpayers pick up the tab for pensioners whose pensions are being rapidly eroded because a big American company reduces to pay an inflation increase on their earlier service."

Ex-HPE employees such as Martin Ranwell explained that due to this issue, he is still working as an accountant at the age of 84.

He said: "This group of people who have been affected have effectively had a 65 per cent reduction of their effective buying power. A typical pensioner with a pension of £10,000 a year, has probably lost £70,000 during that period.

“I personally have lost £100,000 and am still working at the age of 84 as an accountant. I’m forced to do so to maintain my standard of living.”

The demonstration has been organised for September 20 outside the HPE headquarters in Winnersh. A large group of ex-employees are expected to turn up to present a petition to the CEO Matt Harris.

A spokesperson from Hewlett Packard Enterprises said: "HPE is committed to satisfying all of its responsibilities to both current and former team members.

"The decision on whether to grant discretionary increases to relevant pensioners is given careful consideration and is made based on a number of factors. It is reviewed on an annual basis."