Friday 28 October 2016

Thousands facing hardship in retirement, ICTU says

Published 23/09/2016 | 02:30

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

THOUSANDS of people face the prospect of "unexpected hardship" in retirement, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said.

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It blamed what it called official indifference and the complacency of financial institutions for eroding the value of pensions.

Senior ICTU official Fergus Whelan said there was now an urgent need for a universal pension scheme. This should be mandatory for all workers who do not already have a supplementary pension plan.

Speaking ahead of a major ICTU conference on the future of pensions provision next Thursday, Mr Whelan said 200,000 people face hardship in retirement.

"It is our clear view that only a new mandatory scheme for all workers and employers stands any chance of success."

He said the universal system in place in Australia was a good model.

Mr Whelan said many at work today will slide into poverty in retirement, while others will barely make ends meet.

"But this will not happen because they failed to make adequate provision for their retirement. Instead, they are victims of poor regulatory oversight, official indifference and complacency in the financial sector."

He said the Pensions Authority's most recent report reveals that from a peak of 1,500 healthy defined benefit pension schemes a few years ago, with nearly 300,000 active members, only 429 vulnerable schemes remain, covering little more than 100,000 active members.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said he was planning to make a priority of reforming the pension system after the Budget. But major change will be extremely difficult to implement, he said.

Irish Independent

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