Co-op workers facing pension reduction
Thousands of workers with the country's dairy co-ops and co-op marts could be facing major reductions in their future pension benefits.
A letter from the trustees of the ICOS pension fund has warned members that its defined benefit scheme has a financial deficit of close to €35m.
Assets for the scheme are understood to stand at around €105m, with liabilities close to €140m.
It is understood that ICOS is in discussions with both management at co-ops included in the pension scheme and with worker representatives and unions to identify a solution to the problem.
The pension fund trustees have warned members that they are likely to face cuts in their pensions under a restructuring plan. Such a move is termed a Section 50 application under the Pensions Act and would be subject to the approval of Revenue.
However, any cuts in benefits would not affect members who are already retired, and an increase in employee contributions to the scheme has been ruled out.
The objectives of the restructuring process are: