Dundalk councillors Ruairi O Murchu and Anne Campbell have given their support to the striking workers at Irish Life.
A majority of the 180-strong Dundalk workforce at the country’s largest pension provider took part in the one-day stoppage, along with their colleagues in the Irish Life centre in Dublin, in protest at plans by the multi-million euro firm to take employees out of the defined benefit pension scheme and put them into the defined contribution one instead.
The Sinn Fein councillors spent time with the striking workers, who are members of the Unite union, hearing how the proposed changes will affect the employees in Dundalk, some of whom have been with the company since it first opened here nearly 17 years ago.
In a joint statement, Cllrs. O Murchu and Campbell said: ‘We went to the Irish Life picket line today to support the Dundalk workers of the company who are facing a situation where they believe they could lose 30% of their pension entitlements.
‘It was clear to see that the strike was being well-supported by the local community, judging by the sounding of car horns and waves from those driving by on the Inner Relief Road.
‘We spoke to a number of the workers, some of whom joined the company after 2007 and were put into the defined contribution scheme, and they were very supportive of their colleagues who face losing their defined benefit pension.
‘Some of them told us that the defined benefit pension promise was one of the reasons they had remained at the company for so long.
‘Sinn Fein stands with the Irish Life workers and we call on the company, which made around €200 million profit last year and which is, ironically, Ireland’s biggest pension provider, to engage with the Dundalk and Dublin workers immediately in a bid to come to a properly-negotiated and fair settlement’.