This year sees a milestone anniversary for the Construction Workers’ Pension Scheme (CWPS) which celebrates 50 years of providing pension and death in service benefits to its members. The scheme, which was originally set up in 1965, as part of the Settlement Agreement of the National Building strike, later became known as the Construction Federation Operatives Pension Scheme and in 2006, evolved into the current scheme known as CWPS.
The first meeting of the Trustees actually took place on 26th November 1964, with the Scheme officially commencing on 1st March 1965. At a meeting of the Trustees on 9th November 1965 the Board unanimously agreed to assume liability for a Death in Service benefit of £500 (€635). One of the more recent continuing improvements to the Scheme has seen this benefit increase on 1st May 2015 from €63,500 to €100,000.
Throughout the years the value of the Fund has continued to grow with the total asset value of the overall fund now standing at €1,349 million at the end of 2014, up from €946 million at end of 2009, an increase of €403 million in five years. At the end of the 1960s, per the minutes of the meeting on 18th December 1969, the fund value of the Scheme stood at £728,980 (€925,614).
Another significant development in the history of the Scheme was in November 1998 when the Scheme first received the highly coveted ISO Accreditation, following an Assessment Audit by the National Standards Association of Ireland. The scheme still holds this accreditation today and is audited annually by the NSAI.
Over the years the scheme has won many prestigious awards, most recently winning the “Best Pension Scheme in Ireland” at the IPE European Pension Fund Awards held in Vienna in November 2014. CWPS is also currently shortlisted for two awards, Best Communications Strategy and Best use of Risk Management, at the upcoming Irish Pension Awards to be held in November.
With the almost unique industry wide structure of the scheme, with thousands of participating employers in the construction sector, the mobility of the work force is facilitated as it allows members to move from one employer to another and retain their retirement benefits in the one scheme.
The scheme continues to provide valuable benefits for its members at retirement. Benefits can include a pension for life, a cash lump sum or a mixture of both a pension and a lump sum depending on the size of their pension savings at retirement. Currently the scheme pays a monthly pension to just under 8,000 pensioners with several pensioners (both members and surviving spouses) in receipt of a pension for over thirty years. At retirement, members can convert their pension savings into a pension payable for life at very favourable pension conversion terms, in the region of 8% better than the open market annuity rates.
The Trustee of CWPS, in conjunction with the staff of the scheme’s administrator, CPAS, continue to strive to provide an excellent customer service for all the scheme members, a valuable Death in Service benefit for the active contributing members and the best possible retirement  benefit outcome for members from their individual pension savings.
Our image shows Andy O’Gorman (right), Chairman of the CWPS Trustee Board, with Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform Brendan Howlin, T.D, and CIF Director General Tom Parlon at the CIF Annual Conference 2015