Unions again reject Pfizer pension plan reform

Workers at neighbouring Cork plants divided on merit of new arrangements

The Connect trade union, which represents the craft workers concerned, said its members at Pfizer’s Ringaskiddy plant had rejected the proposals ‘quite decisively’. Photograph: Getty Images

The Connect trade union, which represents the craft workers concerned, said its members at Pfizer’s Ringaskiddy plant had rejected the proposals ‘quite decisively’. Photograph: Getty Images

 

A second trade union at US pharma giant Pfizer’s Ringaskiddy plant has voted against plans to reform the company’s pension plan.

Craft workers at the bulk pharmaceutical operation rejected proposals on pension restructuring which emerged from talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.

The Connect trade union, which represents the craft workers concerned, said its members at the plant had rejected the proposals “quite decisively”. It is understood that as many as 80 per cent of those voting did not back the proposal.

The decision throws the long-term future of the plant, which employs close to 800 people, into doubt.

Earlier this week, members of Siptu also voted by a large majority against the proposals to break what has been a five-year impasse on the issue.

Setback

Pfizer workers in a nearby plant at Little Island, who had previously held out against the new pension plan, voted in favour of the plan on this occasion.

Pfizer will now have to consider how to address the latest setback to the plans, which sought to move staff from a defined benefit, or final salary, plan to which employees make no contributions to a defined contribution arrangement where the final pension is determined by the contributions made by workers and employer and the investment performance.

Provision had been made for older workers who comprise up to a third of the workforce to continue on the defined benefit scheme until they retire.

“We are disappointed that Siptu and Connect voted against the proposals in Ringaskiddy and the company is now assessing and reviewing next steps,” the company said in a statement.