IRELAND – Workers are to be balloted about a possible strike over a plan to wind-up the Irish Master Printers Association’s final salary pension scheme.

The union Amicus said it would ballot its 400 print members working on regional and local newspapers in over strike action over plans by the industry body’s plan.

The IMPA plans to close the scheme due to a funding shortfall and replace it with a defined contribution scheme, the union said. It added the deficit is “the direct result of employers not allowing new employees to join the industry pension scheme”.

"Our shop stewards are bitterly disappointed and very angry that their employers have taken this decision,” said Amicus officer Eddie Kirkpatrick.

“They regard their pension as deferred pay and are seeing their standard of living in retirement being reduced as a result of introducing a defined contribution scheme.

"We all knew the scheme needed new blood which is why in 1998, we reached agreement at national level that all new and existing employees would be given the opportunity of joining or transferring into the industry pension scheme.

A meeting of shop stewards – employee representatives - this week rejected the IMPA's decision.