Pfizer bails on Irish pension overhaul after workers union rejection

Pfizer Little Island plant Ireland
Workers at Pfizer's Little Island plant, which will make the move with Upjohn's Mylan merger, agreed to support the pension overhaul. (Pfizer)

Pfizer and some of its Irish plant workers have been locked in a yearslong battle over switching pensions from a rare no-contribution scheme to one in which employees pay toward their retirement. Nearly a year after plant unions threatened to strike over the feud, Pfizer has agreed to scuttle the overhaul.

Pfizer has ended negotiations with 700 workers at its Ringaskiddy plant to enact a direct-contribution pension plan that would require workers to pay into their retirement accounts––moving away from a so-called "direct benefit" plan that is an anomaly in private enterprise. 

Pfizer's exit followed the Ringaskiddy union's recent rejection of an Irish Workforce Relations Committee plan that would have provided for lump sum payments for retirees as well as giving employees an option to stay on their current plan with some contributions still required, according to the Irish Times. 

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The 200 workers at Pfizer's Little Island plant, who previously held out on the agreement, had agreed to sign on to the committee's plan, the Times reported. An additional 100 Dublin workers are on Pfizer's direct benefit plans. 

RELATED: Pfizer braces for work stoppage after announcing it will switch the pensions of Irish holdouts