Unite ballots ESB members over industrial action
Workers vote on action over size of deficit in State company’s pension plan
A file image of ESB workers protesting over the pension deficit at the company in June this year. Unions at the company are expected to have completed a ballot on industrial action by November 18th. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Unite has started balloting members in the ESB for industrial action as the dispute over the deficit in the State company’s pension plan drags on.
Shop stewards across the group unanimously backed a motion last month ordering their unions to ballot members for industrial action, up to and including strike.
Unite started balloting members today and expects to conclude the process on Monday, November 18th, when other unions in the company are also due to have concluded their votes.
The ESB’s unions say its pension scheme has a €1.6 billion shortfall, meaning members will receive just a small proportion of their benefits should it be wound up.
The company argues this is not the case and points out that a funding plan agreed with workers two years ago was on track and had ensured the scheme could meet any liabilities as they fall due.
Four staff are taking High Court action in an attempt to force the ESB to tackle the pensions deficit.
In a formal statement earlier this week ESB said it intended to defend the action.