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Union fury as Shell closes pension scheme despite making £18bn profit

Fuel giant Shell has been accused of “moral bankruptcy” for announcing profits of £18billion – just a month after closing its final salary pension scheme for new recruits.

Fuel giant Shell has been accused of “moral bankruptcy” for announcing profits of £18billion – just a month after closing its final salary pension scheme for new recruits.

The multinational’s haul soared 54% last year thanks to sky-high oil prices caused largely by political tensions in the Middle East. But union leaders accused the firm of raking it in while hammering workers.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Shell reminds us of the moral bankruptcy of the corporate elite. The company is needlessly closing its final salary scheme while posting colossal profits.

“This is predatory capitalism in action. Shell is one of the world’s richest and most powerful corporations. It can afford to keep the final salary scheme open to new entrants.

“Rather than provide security to its future staff and still make a profit, it has chosen greed. Shell is not alone.”

Drivers are unlikely to toast its success either as they’ve been paying through the nose at the pump. Shell says it doesn’t make much cash from its forecourts, backed by figures showing that the firm’s downstream arm, which includes refineries and petrol stations, lost £175.6million last year.

AA president Edmund King said: “It is ironic that at a time of record oil company profits we are suffering from a lack of refining capacity which can affect pump prices.

“It would be helpful if oil companies could divert some of their profits into ensuring the future of Coryton and other essential refineries.”

Royal Dutch Shell, to use the firm’s full name, made £4.1bn in the final three months of 2011 alone – up 13% on the previous year. Shell has outshone its troubled rival BP in recent years and yesterday vowed to up its dividend to shareholders for the first time since 2009.

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