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'The choice for the Irish Independent is a €60 million dividend or pension poverty for ex-staff'

Unions are upset at a plan to wind down the company’s defined benefit pension plan.

AROUND 100 CURRENT and former staff of the Irish Independent protested at a shareholders’ EGM in Dublin today over plans to cut their pension fund.

The company announced last month that it will no longer contribute to company’s defined benefit pension scheme.

That, unions say, will cut the value of some pensions by 70%.

The company had restructured the scheme, meaning staff took cuts of around 40%.

Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists Séamus Dooley called on shareholders including Dermot Desmond and Denis O’Brien to “stop this bandwagon”.

5/12/2016 Protests At Independent News and Media E INM staff outside the Alexander Hotel. Source: Eamonn Farrell via RollingNews.ie

5/12/2016 Protests At Independent News and Media E Former Irish Independent editor Claire Grady and former Independent reporter Lise Hand. Source: Eamonn Farrell via RollingNews.ie

“We want the shareholders to tell the board not to wind up the defined benefit scheme.

“The consequences of winding up this scheme are that people who helped build the Indo to what it is today will be banished to pension poverty.”

Dooley said that today’s meeting, which restructured part of the company’s capital, was “about paying a dividend” to shareholders.

He called on the trustees of the pension fund to “take legal action”. Dooley went on to call on the government to address the “scandal” of pension legislation and asked “corporate Ireland to disassociate itself from INM’s greed”.

“The problem these people (shareholders) have today is how to spend €60 million. The problem these people (staff) have is pension poverty.

“It’s a moral dilemma that has an easy solution.”

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