Unite announces second day of strike action at Irish Life

Trade union Unite have announced a second day of strike action at Irish Life.

Up to 800 Unite members will take part in the 24-hour stoppage on Tuesday, April 24, and will place pickets on Irish Life offices in Dublin and Dundalk.

It follows a 24-hour strike last Thursday.

The action centres around a dispute regarding the closure of the company’s Defined Benefit pension scheme in June, which counts more than 3,300 Irish Life staff as members, including pensioners and deferred members, according to the union.

Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne said members were particularly angry that Irish Life’s decision to close the staff pension scheme coincided with a 6% increase in the dividends paid by parent company Great West Lifeco to shareholders.

He said: “The unilateral decision to close Irish Life’s Defined Benefit pension scheme at a time when the company returns over €200 million annually to parent company Great West Lifeco – which announced a 6% increase in dividends last year – shows that the interests of Great West Lifeco shareholders are being prioritised over the retirement security of Irish Life workers."

Mr Browne also queried the company’s decision to close the Irish Life pension scheme while other Defined Benefit schemes in the Great West Lifeco group remain open to future accrual.

He said: “It is noteworthy that, according to Great West Lifeco’s own documentation, not all their subsidiaries’ DB schemes have been closed. The company needs to tell our members – and the general public – why the Irish Life scheme has been singled out for closure.

“As the country’s largest pension provider, Irish Life regularly comes up with solutions to ensure that clients’ DB schemes remain open.

It is ironic that the company seems unwilling to devise and negotiate a solution to preserve its own employees’ DB scheme.

“Our members were heartened by the public support they received during last week’s strike.

"The resolution of this dispute remains in the hands of Irish Life and their parent company, Great West Lifeco. Unite remains available for meaningful talks aimed at ensuring that our members can look forward to a secure income in retirement.”

- Digital Desk

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