Friday 22 September 2017

INM pension talks now set to intensify

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said there were no plans to introduce new pensions legislation forcing solvent companies to support defined benefit pension schemes. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said there were no plans to introduce new pensions legislation forcing solvent companies to support defined benefit pension schemes. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Management at Independent News & Media will now be invited to meet the Pensions Authority in an effort to resolve the dispute over the winding up of the company's defined benefit pension schemes.

The trustees of the main INM pension scheme affected met with the Pension Authority yesterday for what was understood to have been lengthy discussions.

It is believed the Pensions Authority expressed support for efforts of the trustees. It is also seeking a meeting with company management.

Trustees were thought to be keen that information be provided as quickly as possible in particular to employees and former staff approaching retirement age who would be most affected by changes to the pension structure.

The trustees are reported to be seeking a top-up contribution from the company of €12m to be made into defined-benefit pension schemes for those affected, including structuring payments to favour those aged 62 and over who have little chance to make up any pension shortfall before they retire.

A contractual commitment to support schemes into the future is also being sought.

Both sides are now locked in talks.

"The company is engaged in a process with the trustees and is declining to comment," an INM spokesman said last night.

Pension trustees were expected to also meet with unions represents many INM employees to bring them up to speed on the process.

Given the complexity of the financial issues involved, a breakthrough is highly unlikely by tomorrow when INM's board of directors is due to hold its regular monthly meeting, although directors are expected to be updated on the process.

Yesterday in the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said there were no plans to introduce new pensions legislation forcing solvent companies to support defined benefit pension schemes.

Mr Kenny was responding to Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin, who said there was shock at what had happened to pensions at INM.

Irish Independent

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