Palantir drops planned UK pension cuts

Palantir drops planned UK pension cuts

US data analytics firm Palantir has scrapped plans to cut UK company pension contributions following complaints from workers.

In the UK, Palantir has around 850 staff, and those who joined more than two years ago have reportedly been hit by pension cuts.

According to FinancialTimesPalantir informed its UK employees in September that the company was considering reducing its contribution to the pensions of its most senior employees from 10% of salary to 6%.

The company said the adjustment will align pension contributions received by UK hires who started work after April 2020 and those of all other hires.

A quarter of UK employees would have been affected by the planned move, which was due to come into effect in January 2023.

Following the announcement, more than 200 employees joined a group on business messaging platform Slack to talk about the changes. Many employees spoke out against the proposed cuts.

Shyam Sankar, chief operating officer of Palantir, held a conference call with staff members last Monday in response to the backlash.

A worker told the FT that the Q&A session with management was “brutal” and that it included a discussion of the executives’ own salary packages.

Palantir’s senior executives received total compensation of $8 million in 2017. Alex Karp, the company’s CEO, received compensation of $1.1 billion in 2020, including one-time equity awards tied to the success of the IPO.

Following the QA session, Sankar informed the employees that management had abandoned the pension reduction plan.

He also expressed regret for the way he brought up the concept.

Palantir said its flip-flop on pensions was just “good practice”.

“It is not unusual for a company to review its retirement policy from time to time. However, it is also good practice for an employer to listen carefully to its employees,” the company said.

“We are especially proud to value our employees, because we know that our great employees are the engine of our success. That’s why, after engaging with those who would have been impacted by the potential change, we made the quick decision not to move forward. »

Palantir was founded in 2003 by prominent Donald Trump financier and PayPal investor, Peter Thiel. The company helps organizations analyze large volumes of data from governments and other sources to gain valuable insights.

In 2020 the NHS hired Palantir to help with the Covid-19 response. The relationship, however, ran into legal problems and the government eventually backed down from extending it.

Civil liberties groups both in the UK and abroad are concerned about Palantir’s record of secrecy and providing its tools for government surveillance operations in the US and elsewhere. .

Palantir are currently seeking an NHS contract worth a total of £360million, which is being offered.

Bloomberg said last week that the mining company was developing a secret strategy to strengthen its ties with the NHS. According to this report, the company wants to buy up smaller competitors that already have a connection to the health service. This would allow Palantir to work with one of the largest health data repositories in the world, without attracting public attention.

Palantir Regional Head Louis Mosley revealed the approach in an email titled “Buying our way in…!” in September 2021. He discussed the “aspiration” of small businesses that serve the NHS to “take a lot of ground and eliminate a lot of political resistance”.

Mosley listed the qualities of suitable takeover targets in the UK, including sales of software services to the NHS; reputable leadership; and an annual turnover of between £5 million and £50 million.

Palantir is also pursuing a different plan which is to hire from within the NHS.

Indra Joshi, who had been director of AI at NHSX, was recruited by Palantir in April.

According BloombergJoshi – as Director of AI for NHSX – struck deals and led a grant program to fund the development of AI by tech companies to improve disease diagnosis while providing access to information from NHS patients.

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