St. Patrick's Hospital nurses vote for industrial action over pension scheme

Nurses have been staging regular protests against the decision to close the scheme

Psychiatric nurses, PNA, industrial action, work to rule, staffing, vacancies, pay,

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Psychiatric nurses have voted for industrial action at St Patrick’s Hospital over the decision to close the staff’s Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Scheme without staff consultation.

In the Inter Union Group ballot, 97% voted in favour of industrial action with a 88% overall turnout of those eligible to vote. The group has now issued management with notice of industrial action to commence on May 24th.

The Defined Benefit scheme, due to close from June 2nd, currently has 274 active members and 224 deferred members.

Nurses claim the decision to close the DB scheme, which is fully funded, reneges on an agreement reached with the Hospital, the Pensions Board and trustees, to protect the core elements of the DB Scheme.

The Psychiatic Nurses Association's (PNA) General Secretary Peter Hughes said the very high level of turnout in the ballot reflects the anger and dismay of staff at the St Patrick’s decision to close the DB scheme.

"We are calling on St Patrick's to pull back from their unfair and unreasonable action to close the staff pension scheme which will have serious implications for the legitimate pension expectations of the DB scheme members," he said.

Background

Nurses have been holding regular protests on hospital grounds against the decision to close the scheme.

St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) said the decision was taken in an effort to protect workers – as the value of the scheme is likely to decline in the coming years and will be less than originally forecast.

It said this deterioration in value represents a significant risk to the members of the scheme and to the organisation itself – and claimed it had communicated the decision to unions in early March.

"The organisation will be honouring the full terms of the Funding Agreement which was put in place in 2008 when the 2005 Scheme fell into deficit. This amounts to paying approximately €7m into the pension scheme," the statement reads.