Pfizer workers reject claim on pension recommendations

Pharmaceutical manufacturer’s staff hire experts to clarify Labour Court ruling

The Labour Court recently recommended that Pfizer pay up to €35,000  for freezing the  defined benefit pension plan. Photograph: Reuters

The Labour Court recently recommended that Pfizer pay up to €35,000 for freezing the defined benefit pension plan. Photograph: Reuters

 

Pfizer workers have rejected the company’s claim that a Labour Court recommendation supports a move away from its salary-linked pension.

The pharmaceutical manufacturer wants to move 900 of its Irish workers from two non-contributory pension schemes that offer them a proportion of their salary on retirement, to a new plan without that guarantee.

The Labour Court recently recommended that Pfizer pay up to €35,000 to staff in compensation for freezing the salary-linked defined benefit pension plan.

Members of trade union Siptu in Pfizer on Wednesday rejected a claim by management that the recommendation supports a move away from the defined pension scheme.

‘Disingenuous’

Siptu sector organiser Alan O’Leary said workers had hired an independent expert to help clarify the implications of the court’s recommendation.

“It is disingenuous and totally inaccurate of Pfizer management to claim, as it did in a recent newspaper article, that the recommendation supports ‘moving away’ from the defined benefit scheme,” he said.

“Our members believe that these comments reveal one of the fundamental reasons why, since 2014, Pfizer Ireland has been attempting to change our members’ existing pension benefits.”

Mr O’Leary added that Pfizer workers in other EU countries, such as Belgium, have been allowed to stay in their defined-benefit schemes or to voluntarily move to a new one.