Pfizer to announce Irish pension scheme amendments to Labour Court
Written by Talya Misiri
US firm Pfizer is to present its plans to freeze its Irish salary-linked pension scheme and introduce a new scheme to the Labour Court this week.
Pfizer has confirmed that it will participate in a hearing in the Labour Court on Friday 17 November in relation to proposed company pension changes and that it remains committed to working with the industrial relations process.
The company has noted that in line with its “global corporate direction” it plans to move its members from a defined benefit scheme, which is salary-linked, to a new defined contribution scheme.
Although Pfizer is looking to freeze the DB scheme, it has stated that it does not plan to wind the scheme up and will remain committed to its funding commitments.
The proposed DC scheme will involve set contribution levels but the level of payout is not guaranteed. The plan will comprise of a company contribution of six per cent of salary on behalf of workers who do not want to contribute to the new scheme.
The proposed changes will affect around 900 Pfizer employees across four sites in manufacturing, shared services and commercial operations. Other Pfizer employees with pensions in Ireland are in DC schemes that are unaffected. The current proposal also doesn’t affect deferred members or pensioners.
Pfizer has been in negotiations with staff, represented by trade union Siptu, since 2014.
“Non contributory defined benefit schemes are now very rare and the cost to the company of funding these schemes has risen 1000% since 2009 and these costs are affecting the competitiveness of the site,” said Pfizer Ringaskiddy and Little Island site lead Seamus Fives.
“The environment for DB plans has become very challenging due to the increasing and unsustainable cost and volatility associated with these types of pension plans. It is important that we remain attractive and competitive within the company manufacturing network to continue to attract manufacturing activity. The company has allowed a long period of negotiation and it is critical that negotiations move swiftly to a conclusion.”