Saturday 20 January 2018

NIB rules out further talks on controversial pension changes

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

NATIONAL Irish Bank (NIB) has ruled out any further talks on controversial changes to the bank's pension scheme, despite trade union pressure for Labour Court intervention.

The news came less than a week after banking union the IBOA claimed that "more than 95pc" of its NIB workers had rejected the bank's decision to overhaul its pension scheme.

"We're asking the bank to come into talks with the Labour Court," an IBOA spokesman said yesterday, adding that the union has already agreed to be bound by the court's decision.

NIB deputy chief executive Kevin Gallen, however, confirmed that the bank will not be taking part in any discussions with the Labour Court.

"We've negotiated on this for 11 months already," he said, adding that the talks have been "concluded".

In response, the IBOA spokesman acknowledged that even though NIB can't be forced into the Labour Court, the union could still create "further moral pressure for the bank" by getting the Labour Court to endorse an alternative pension strategy.

NIB is planning to close its defined benefit pension scheme in January, with all benefits already earned being carried forward to retirement.

All future pension entitlements will then be built up through a defined contribution scheme, which staff are being asked to pay into.

The bank has given workers until the end of the month to sign up to those payments and accept a one-off payment of 5pc of salary.

Mr Gallen stressed that the defined benefit scheme would close regardless of whether staff signed on the dotted line.

Irish Independent

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