Statement on the third meeting of the Labour Employer Economic Forum
Opportune and informative discussion between Government, employer and trade union groups on the Occupational Pension Schemes
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Thursday) chaired the third meeting of the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF). This meeting brought together representatives of employers and trade unions with Government Ministers for a dedicated discussion on proposed measures to increase protections for members of Defined Benefit Occupational Pension Schemes.
The discussions were led by the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar T.D. The proposals are included in the General Scheme of the Social Welfare and Pensions Reform Bill 2017, which was approved by Government on Tuesday (9th May). It is currently being submitted for pre-legislative scrutiny by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection.
Commenting on the discussions, Minister Donohoe said: ‘The discussions today were informative for all parties. The Labour Employer Economic Forum meeting provided a particularly welcome opportunity for early and informed consideration of the statutory proposals approved by Government in recent days. The views expressed at the meeting will inform the detailed drafting of the legislation’.
Minister Varadkar stated: ‘We will maintain close contact with IBEC and ICTU as the Social Welfare and Pensions Reform Bill makes its way through the Oireachtas. I want to thank Minister Donohoe and all the parties involved for their contributions in today’s constructive and informed discussions’.
In line with the stated objective of the LEEF to have BREXIT included as a standard agenda item, Minister Donohoe led a detailed discussion on developments to date in relation to the BREXIT process. The Minister noted that, after intensive lobbying by Government, both the EU's negotiating guidelines and the stated UK position reflect Ireland's unique concerns and priorities.
Minister Donohoe added that: ‘The Government will continue to develop its negotiating position through broad consultation, including with labour and employer groups, in order to manage the inevitable challenges for Ireland that will arise during the BREXIT process’.
Notes for Editors:
The meeting of the Labour Employer Economic Forum was chaired today by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, T.D. In attendance was Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, T.D.; Minister of State for Financial Services, eGovernment and Public Procurement, Eoghan Murphy T.D.; and Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D.
IBEC was represented by Mr. Danny McCoy, Ms. Maeve McAlwee, Mr. Tom Parlon and Mr. Ian Talbot.
ICTU was represented by Ms. Patricia King, Mr. Tom Healy, and Mr. Kevin Callinan.
· The Labour Employer Economic Forum is jointly sponsored by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, T.D.; the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, T.D.; and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D.;
· The Forum is a non-binding consultative forum;
· Issues concerning pay will not form part of discussions;
· The LEEF will meet on a quarterly basis and be chaired by the sponsoring Ministers. An Taoiseach will chair the first meeting annually, and all other meetings will be handled at official level.