Sinn Féin introduce Bill to prevent companies from reneging on pension obligations – Brady
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has today introduced a Bill to ensure an end to solvent companies walking away and reneging on their pension obligations to their employees.
The Pensions (Amendment) Bill 2017 was introduced today by Deputy Brady and is co-sponsored by Deputies Denise Mitchell and David Cullinane.
Teachta Brady said:
“In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to close defined benefit schemes regardless of the health of the company. We know this is happening; we saw it most recently in Independent News & Media.
“According to the Irish Association of Pension Funds, the number of active defined benefit schemes has fallen from just over 1,200 at the end of 2006 to less than 500 today. The number of active members in those schemes has dropped from 270,000 to 126,000 at the end of last year.
“In reviewing our pension system in 2012, the OECD clearly identified the allowing of healthy sponsors to walk away from DB pension plans, shutting them down, as another weakness of Irish legislation.
“If we, as legislators, do not address what Independent News & Media have done then we are allowing other companies to do the same. We are saying that this is acceptable and we are actively leaving the door open for other companies to do the same.
“This Bill implements the OECD recommendation which, had legislation been strengthened at that time, the wipe out of members’ pensions at Independent News and Media would not have been allowed.
“I am calling for cross-party support for this Bill so we can send a very clear message to companies that they will not be allowed to consciously wind down their defined benefit pension plans and renege on their pension commitments to members.”