IRELAND - A deal on the creation of a hybrid DB/DC at the Irish Life & Permanent TSB bank might be a model for resolving the Bank of Ireland dispute, the union Amicus says.

Amicus has reached an agreement in principle with Irish Life & Permanent which includes the retention of the defined benefit scheme for current members.

For new employees a defined benefit scheme will provide pensions for earnings up to €50,000 with a ‘top-up' funded by a DC scheme with employer contributions.

Amicus will recommend the deal to its 2,000 members at Irish Life & Permanent who will vote on the new arrangements in the following weeks. Amicus is confident the deal will be accepted.

"The deal could provide the basis for agreement with Bank of Ireland on a pensions dispute," Amicus said in a press release.

The dispute between the 400 Amicus members and the management at the BoI has been transferred to the Labour Court where a full hearing will be held on 15 December.

The online service of Radio Telefís Éireann states that the bank thinks the Irish Life & Permanent deal "confirms a trend in pension provision of moving away from defined benefit schemes".

In May of this year the bank had announced to close its DB scheme for new employees from October 1.

It said it is now offering a hybrid scheme instead stating that "the new pensions arrangements reflect the changing environment and are superior to most changes being introduced by other companies at present".

Workers went on strike over the proposal in mid-November and criticised that the cuts in pension benefit guarantees came amid the bank reporting pre-tax profits of €887m for the six months to the end of September, up 5 per cent on the same period a year ago.