The Socialist Party TD for Dublin West, Joe Higgins, has called on Element Six, which is a subsidiary of the incredibly wealthy mutlinational De Beers to immediately honour the agreed payments into its Defined Benefit Pension Scheme, after it announced that it is winding up this plan.
In 2009, De Beers/Element Six came to an agreement with the Labour Relations Commission that in return for a reduction in the terms of redundancy offered to laid-off workers, the company would honour its outstanding obligations to the Defined Benefit Scheme up to 2020. The company had since written to employees, deferred and retired members to confirm its commitment to the plan.
Joe Higgins TD on the matter said “It is an outrage that De Beers/Element Six is reneging on its commitment to honour pension contracts. This is a firm that has been in Shannon since 1960
and has made very substantial profits in the process. The complete disregard shown to current and former employees is scandalous. Since the announcement that the scheme was being wound-up, the company has made no attempt to engage with the workers and they have also signalled their intention to not honour the outstanding debt due to the pension scheme. It is simply not acceptable, for De Beers which posted pre-tax profits of $1.2billion for the first six months of 2011, to plead inability to pay.”
“I call on the De Beers company, which in June reported having gross assets totalling €8.2 billion, to immediately honour outstanding and future pension entitlements. If it does not, it is crucial that the workers of Element Six alongise retired employees mount a serious challenge on this company, using industrial action if necessary. I call on SIPTU who are representing these workers to take a stance on the increasing phenomenon of MNCs using the economic crisis internationally to attack wages, working conditions and pension entitlements.”