Hundreds of retired ESB workers protested outside the Dail on Wednesday23 October in protest at Government attacks on their pensions.
They were joined by former workers at many other semi state companies like CIE, Bord na Mona and RTE.
These workers do not qualify for any state pension because they were forced into a particular pension scheme while working for their semi state.
However , having paid contributions all their lives they have been hit by measures taken during the austerity years.
Most have had no pension increase since 2008. They have also had a cut to pensions because of the pension levy introduced by Michael Noonan. Incredibly these cuts have not been reversed. To make things worse the Government is actively blocking their companies from sanctioning even small agreed increases to their pensions payments.
Many of these workers only get small pensions , most are under 20,000 euros a year; but they dont get access to any state benefits and are being hit with higher costs of living increases, carbon taxes and health bills.
The Retired semi state staff association (RSSA) has said it will keep campaigning against this injustice. The Association represents over 70,000 retired workers across the country. Tony Oconnor of the RSSA said
“Semi state Defined Benefit pension schemes have been frozen since 2008. Many have had their pensions reduced in perpetuity by the Noonan levy – approximately 2 %.The Minister of Finance professes his care for old age pensioners but he has refused to sanction the 1% for example increase sought by RTE 18 months ago on behalf of their own retired staff?” He explained that these workers dont receive any state pension and have to reply only on their own private pension scheme.
At their protest on Wednesday they thanked People before Profit TD Brid for bringing a Bill to the Dail that will give formal recognition to retired workers and allow them access the WRC and Pension Ombudsman. This would allow retired workers to have a voice in any future case where their pensions are been interfered with or attacked.
Brid said ” in many cases these workers retired expecting a set income , a pension that they paid into all their lives. But they have been betrayed by the Government and in many cases by their former employers. They have been ignored and most are on very low pensions. They continue to be hit by austerity cuts years after the crisis has passed, its deeply unjust”