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Glanbia dispute: Retirees threaten legal action

A group of retired Glabia workers are launching a High Court case against the company over an alleged breach of contract regarding pension payments.

Glanbia Ingrediants LTD plant in Virginia, Co Cavan
Glanbia Ingrediants LTD plant in Virginia, Co Cavan
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall

A GROUP OF former Glanbia employees who are engaged in a dispute with the company over pension entitlements have confirmed they are to fight their case in the High Court.

In a High Court Summons that will be delivered to the company within the next ten days, Glanbia will be accused of breach of contract: the pensioners claim that Glanbia broke a contractual agreement negotiated in the early 1990s when it ceased paying them an annual 3.5 per cent increase in pensions in January of this year.

The former employees say that they sacrificed salary and benefit increases in 1992 in return for an annual increase in their pensions once they retired. While the company paid the increase for several years, at the beginning of 2012 it called the deal off and discontinued the payment.

The pensioners say that other elements of the 1992 agreement – outside of the annual pension increase – continue to be honoured.

A spokesperson for the group said:

We are particularly disappointed at the failure of Glanbia senior executives to honour our contract on the pension annual increase as we were the only group of employees who responded to the appeal from the then managing director for pay restraint in the early 90s, when the company was experiencing serious financial difficulties. We agreed to accept lower salaries at the time, to ameliorate the company’s financial problems, in return for the security of better pension conditions on our retirement.

The claimants say that the company’s actions will inflict very serious losses on the pensioners, who are aged 72 years old on average. The group added that, in the case of some staff members who are currently retiring, the accumulated value of their subscription to the company through sacrificing wage increases since 1992 now could amount to a considerable sum of money.

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A spokesperson for the group said that they have been “very heartened” by the ongoing support they have received by people in counties Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford.

The group has opened a bank account in AIB at their Dungarvan, Co Waterford, branch, into which supporters can make direct contributions if they wish.

Read: Bad news for Wexford as jobs lost at Yoplait factory >

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