On 9 June 2015 a High Court Judge granted IBM permission to appeal aspects of both the breach and remedies Judgments in relation to the “Project Waltz” legal proceedings.

"Project Waltz" was implemented in 2009 to help IBM meet its 2010 target for earnings per share and cut costs. It led to a quarter of UK staff ceasing accrual in its final salary pension scheme.

Last year the High Court determined that IBM had breached its duties by giving staff the choice of either signing the non-pensionability agreements or receiving no pay increases in the future.

Following on from this, in March 2015, the High Court ruled that IBM employees who were refused salary increases because they would not agree to changes to the pension scheme were entitled to claim damages to reflect the salary they would have received had IBM not implemented “Project Waltz”.

IBM sought permission to appeal and at the hearing held last week Mr Justice Warren granted IBM permission to appeal aspects of both the breach and remedies judgments, citing the fact that if permission were refused IBM were likely to make a direct application to the Court of Appeal. As a result, the most time and cost efficient way of dealing with proceedings was for him to grant permission to appeal. 

The Representative Beneficiaries were also granted permission to cross-appeal aspects of the breach Judgment, although the judge is still considering whether or not they should be allowed to pursue the cross-appeal with no personal adverse costs risk to themselves.

No date has yet been set for the Court of Appeal hearing, at which there are three possible outcomes for members. These are:

  1. The Project Waltz changes could be determined as a whole to have been validly implemented by IBM.
  2. One or more elements of Project Waltz could be determined to be validly implemented
  3. Mr Justice Warren’s findings of invalidity at first instance could be upheld.