Irish

Thursday 21 August 2014

Unions and employers in warning on pension crisis

Colm Kelpie

Published 09/07/2013 | 05:00

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BUSINESS chiefs have taken the rare step of issuing a joint statement with trade unionists demanding action from the Government on pensions.

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It comes after it emerged last week that many bust pension schemes missed a deadline earlier this month to plug deficits, with seven out of 10 defined benefit schemes in trouble.

A statement from IBEC, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and the Irish Association of Pensions Funds said the Government could no longer ignore the "pensions crisis".

"Nearly 65,000 employees have been affected by the cessation of more than 400 defined benefit schemes since the end of 2008," they said.

"We expect scheme closures to continue. Many of these could be prevented if the Government now takes action."

The Pensions Board opened its offices on Sunday, June 30, in anticipation of a large surge in restructuring plans being submitted. The board said a significant number of schemes met the deadline for submitting plans to plug their deficits.

The message comes as financial services group IFG warned that employers who operate defined benefit schemes would have no choice but to wind them up.

Fionan O'Sullivan, IFG's director of corporate pensions, said employers and employees were fearful of what lay ahead.

"Company pension pots are dwindling due to uncertainty in the economy and new government legislation," he said.

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