Proposed New Law Seeks To Give Retired Workers Greater Rights

Pensioners groups welcome proposals

Today in the Dáil People Before Profit will introduce a new Bill that aims to give retired workers greater rights of representation and a say in any changes proposed to their pension schemes.

Bríd Smith TD will formally introduce the Industrial Relations (Provisions in Respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers)           Bill 2020 on Thursday.

The Bill would give retired workers associations greater rights to take cases to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) when changes are proposed to existing occupational pensions schemes. It would also ensure retired workers could have greater representation on trustee boards of schemes.

Bríd Smith TD said: “Over the past decade there have been huge attacks on pension schemes across the country. One particularly vicious aspect of these attacks is that workers who have paid into these schemes all their lives, and often been active members of their trade union fighting for improvement in these schemes, find that once they have left employment they have no say in any changes been made to their pensions. So, in case after case in recent years we find significant changes and cuts in pension payments and benefits with absolutely no say or input form the cohort most affected by these changes- retired workers themselves. This gross injustice has to be addressed and this Bill seeks to do so.

Paul Murphy TD of RISE said: “We know that pensioners and retired workers have paid a heavy price over recent years with changes to their pension benefits and that often deals are done with little regard to how they impact on those who rely most on the pension but who have left the employment concerned. That needs to be addressed and meaningful representation both before and after any changes are made that impact on pensioners lives.”

The Council of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants said: “The Council of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants has given its endorsement to the proposed amendments to the Industrial Relations Acts and Pensions Acts currently being tabled in Dáil Eireann by Deputy Bríd Smith, PBP. Since the formation of the Alliance, statutory representation of Pensioners has been one of its core priorities, given that the right to representation is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights/Lisbon Treaty. The Alliance commends this legislative initiative and urges all Political Parties and Oireachtas members to support the proposed amendments.”

The Group of Semi State Retired Staff Association (RSSA) said: “This proposed Bill represents a most important step forward for the rights of retired employees. For some years now, we have lobbied for such a change to rectify the injustice of former employees having effectively no voice in regard to their own pensions. We strongly advocate support for this simple, elegant measure.”