Friday 21 July 2017

Discussions on wind-up of pension scheme

NUJ Irish secretary Séamus Dooley
NUJ Irish secretary Séamus Dooley
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

Trustees of the defined benefit pension scheme at Independent News and Media met with union representatives yesterday, as efforts continue to resolve issues around plans to wind up the scheme.

The publisher of this newspaper plans to close down the scheme and is involved in a process with the plan's trustees on funding to be provided to members to transfer them to new pension plans.

Siptu and the National Union of Journalists said the company had signed up to a 10-year "deficit-repair scheme" in 2013. Any new proposals will have to include "cast-iron guarantees to, at a minimum, maintain the 10-year funding".

NUJ Irish secretary Séamus Dooley, Siptu divisional organiser Ethel Buckley and the union's legal adviser Rachel Ryan and financial adviser John O'Connell, of Trident Consulting, met with the trustees.

Mr Dooley said: "Siptu and the NUJ welcomed the opportunity to meet the trustees. We again reiterated our concern at the manner in which the trustees had been treated by Independent News & Media and were assured that the trustees have not concluded negotiations with the company or concluded their exploration of all options open to them."

It is understood that INM will liaise with members of the two defined benefit schemes before Christmas following criticism over its decision to stop contributing to the schemes.

The board of INM met this week and later issued a statement in which the company said it would continue to make "a significant pension funding contribution of €11.1m per annum from 2013 to 2023".

That sum is made up of €8.1m toward its DB schemes and €3m toward its defined contribution (DC) scheme.

Some €5.6m of the annual €8.1m DB contributions comprise a schedule of deficit repair contributions aimed at eliminating any deficit as agreed in 2013 when INM restructured its DB schemes.

Last night spokesman said: "Discussions between the pension trustees and Independent News & Media are still in progress. The company is not making any public comment on the discussions."

Irish Independent

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