SIPTU confirmed today that the union will attend a full hearing of the Labour Court this Friday (17th November) in order to defend the defined pension scheme of 350 union members. defined These workers are employed in the Ringaskiddy and Little Island plants in Cork. Alan O'Leary, Sector Organiser said: “Since 2014, Pfizer management has advocated a move away from the existing Defined Benefit (DB) scheme to a vastly inferior Defined Contribution (DC) scheme. The latest company proposal suggested that our members should take a 35%-40% cut in future pension benefit. This proposal is completely unacceptable as the Defined Benefit scheme is a fundamental part of terms and conditions of employment.  In fact, based on the most recent actuarial report the existing scheme is not in deficit, is fully funded and in a very healthy position.  “In a recent press statement Pfizer claimed that the cost of funding these existing defined benefit pension schemes ‘has risen by 1,000%‘. Despite a suite of actuaries being involved in the talks for the past three years it is amazing that this figure has just emerged now on the eve of a full hearing of the labour Court. The union has never been provided with the actuarial basis for this statement. We contend that as it applies to our 350 members this is a grossly exaggerated figure which is a cynical attempt to cloud the real issue. Put simply, Pfizer wants to cut future pension benefits for our members. “Pfizer is one of the top Pharmaceutical Multi-National Corporation's (MNC) in the world and is also one of the most profitable with €190 billion in assets, including in offshore tax havens. The company can well afford to continue to pay into what is a very healthy Defined Benefit Pension scheme. SIPTU members are very angry that Pfizer does not want to continue to invest in their future pension and will not accept a 35%-40% pay cut to their future pension benefits. Our 350 members are covered by a collective agreement and we will be defending the existing pension scheme in the Labour Court on Friday.”