Friday 24 May 2019

Irish Life workers protest over pension scheme closure

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Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Around 100 Irish Life staff protested yesterday outside the firm's Dublin HQ at proposed changes to their pensions plan.

In total, about 800 workers who are members of the Unite trade union went on strike.

They are protesting at the closure of their defined benefit scheme, which could happen as early as June, and say it would cut some 30pc off their pension.

Picket lines were formed from 6am yesterday and continued until 6pm.

Peter Gibbons (55) is a business administrator and has been working at the company - which is the country's largest pension provider - for 38 years. He said morale in Irish Life was low.

"People are very worried, there's fear," he said. "You'll need to put a contribution of around 30pc in for the shortfall that's going to happen."


Sheila Martin, from Dublin 7, has been working at the company for more than 30 years.

"We can see that other companies are keeping their schemes open," she said. "I think everybody is very upset that it's come to this and I think they don't want to be in this position."

Branch chair of Unite for Irish Life Joe Conroy said the union wanted to sit down with management at the company.

A spokeswoman for Irish Life said the company made the decision to end future accrual on the two defined benefit pension schemes.

"We believe that this is the right thing to do to ensure that the interests of all scheme members are protected, be they active members, deferred members or pensioners," she said. "The closure to future accrual is designed to protect the valuable benefits built up in the schemes."

The representative added that the company remains open to engaging and negotiating with the union on the future defined contribution.

Irish Independent

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