Union warns Permanent TSB staff may lose pension benefits

Defined benefit schemes at the company being wound up

A busker stands outside a branch of the Permanent TSB on Grafton Street in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Getty Images

A busker stands outside a branch of the Permanent TSB on Grafton Street in Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Getty Images

Tue, Jun 25, 2013, 12:59

Staff at Permanent TSB could lose up to half of promised pension benefits following the wind-up of the defined benefit schemes at the company, the Unite conference has been told.

Niall Sweeney, senior Unite representative at Permanent TSB, said that management had decided unilaterally to close the defined benefit schemes in the company. He said management justified this decision on the basis of Government demands for payroll cuts of between 6 and 10 per cent.

Mr Sweeney said in the space of seven years, management had effectively bankrupted a once-profitable bank.

He said the winding up of the defined benefit schemes would affect about 3,700 members who were looking at cuts of up to 50 per cent in their promised pension payments.

“Make no mistake the attack being launched by Permanent TSB management, with the Government’s consent, is an attempt to set a precedent - one that you can be sure is being closely monitored by other employers,” he said.

“If they are successful in winding up the schemes it is highly likely that this will be repeated in other workplaces. What happens in Permanent TSB could set a dangerous trend throughout the private sector.”

The conference passed an emergency motion calling for a campaign to be established to fight against the management’s plans.

A spokesman for Permanent TSB said the company had ceased contributing to the defined benefit schemes and had opened defined contribution schemes for staff from the beginning of June.

He said the current deficit in the defined benefit schemes was about €350 million and could rise to €500 million over a 10-year period if not addressed.

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