Members of the main pension plan of Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) have accused Heineken of breaking its word and watering down their pensions. The pensioners have said that Heineken, which acquired S&N in 2008, has abandoned a decades-long policy of providing inflation-linked pension increases. The pension fund members said Heineken had gone back on a promise that helped to smooth the way for the £7.8bn takeover by Heineken and Carlsberg. As part of the deal, Heineken took over the S&N’s UK business. According to The Times, 500 former brewers, publicans and salesmen, as well as some of S&N's most senior former executives, have joined a group that has written to the Commons Select Committee for Business, Innovation and Skills, asking it to investigate. Tom Ward - former S&N corporate development and strategy director and now the spokesman for the campaign - claimed existing S&N pensioners, former employees with deferred pensions and current members of the renamed Heineken UK had "been given a raw deal and treated unfairly and dishonourably". He added in the Scotsman: "Before the takeover, we understood that Heineken NV, the parent company, stood firmly behind its public and private commitments on pensions. "To now make a U-turn on its very public undertaking to follow S&N's 40 years or so of company practice in applying inflationary increases to pensions is deeply offensive.” Heineken rejected any suggestion of reneging on a promise. It said that the undertaking was not binding on it to increase pensions, only to consider doing so, and emphasised the word “discretionary” in the undertaking.

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