Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea TD has said that the continuing erosion of workers’ rights and entitlements must be halted.

Deputy O’Dea made his comments following the news that Irish Life is closing its defined benefit pension scheme which will affect upwards of 1,200 staff members.

“The decision taken by the management of Irish Life to close its defined benefit pension scheme is incredibly concerning to me, but especially to the members of staff who it will directly affect.

“Unfortunately, it is reflective of a growing trend by large companies to close such schemes and move workers onto defined contribution schemes.

“The upshot of such a move is a reduced pension package and decreased financial security in retirement.

“What this fundamentally amounts to is an erosion of workers’ rights and entitlements, and is part of a wider attempt at rowing back on the benefits that employees expect.

“The ability of solvent companies to walk away from their pension requirements, by winding up defined benefit schemes, must be curtailed.

“Recently, a bill which I brought forward, the Pensions (Amendment) (No, 2) Bill 2017 passed second stage. The bill, if fully enacted, will provide greater pension protection for employees and ensure that solvent employers are not able to walk away from their pension obligations.

“I am calling on the Minister for Social Protection to work with me to pass this bill as quickly as possible. It is imperative that we tackle this issue head on and provide a greater degree of protection for workers in defined benefit pension schemes,” concluded O’Dea.