Cowen Calls for the Protection of Pension Rights

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has said the Government needs to put in place greater protections to ensure that workers in Defined Benefit Pension Schemes are protected from their employers attempting to wind their schemes.

Deputy Cowen made the comments after Fianna Fáil brought forward legislation which, if enacted, will provide for an appeals mechanism for workers who are at risk of losing their pensions. The ‘Pensions (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2017’ will be debated at Second Stage in the Dáil later this evening, and Cowen insists the Bill will ensure workers’ pension rights are protected

Deputy Cowen said, "In recent years we have seen a number of employers attempting to wind up their workers Defined Benefit Pension Schemes without proper consultation. This includes many large, financially solvent companies who have sought to close down their pension schemes."

"It’s inconceivable that a financially solvent company would be allowed to wind up its pension scheme, often with little to no consultation with workers or existing pensioners. Fianna Fáil’s proposals will combat this problem by providing a robust appeal mechanism for workers’ who are at risk of losing their pensions. The Bill also clearly specifies the conditions for the winding up of defined benefit pension schemes," Cowen added.

"Companies undoubtedly need to be able to protect their long-term viability, but it is important to make the distinction between this and simply seeking to drive up profit margins. Companies have an obligation to, as far as possible, treat their employees in a fair and equitable manner. Winding up pension schemes in a race to the bottom to secure better profit margins is incompatible with this," concluded Deputy Cowen.