Siptu to discuss industrial action ballot in Aer Lingus pension row
Concerns over hold up in implementing Labour Court recommendations
Siptu’s Aer Lingus committee will meet today to discuss “activating industrial action from the original ballot or having a fresh ballot for industrial action”
Siptu representatives at Aer Lingus will today consider balloting members for industrial action as the row over the airline’s pension difficulties drags on.
A memo circulated yesterday shows the union’s leadership is growing impatient with delays in implementing recommendations designed to plug a hole in the airline’s staff pension scheme, which included paying €110 million to a new retirement plan and a number of salary increases. According to the document, Siptu’s Aer Lingus committee will meet today to discuss “activating industrial action from the original ballot or having a fresh ballot for industrial action”.
The row centres on the Irish Aviation Superannuation Scheme (IASS), of which staff at Aer Lingus and the Dublin Airport Authority are members, and which has a €780 million shortfall. It has brought workers at the two organisations close to strike over the last year.
Following six months of talks the Labour Court recommended in May that Aer Lingus pay into a new plan a lump sum of €110 million for current staff and €30 million for those who have left but have not retired. It also advocated that employees be paid a number of deferred and frozen long-service pay increases in September.
Siptu official Dermot O’Loughlin said staff at the airline were primarily concerned about the fact that they had not received the pay increases last month and were continuing to pay into the IASS, a scheme they believe is effectively dead.
The memo said representatives on a pension committee set up to deal with the issue were not released from duties to attend recent meetings. In addition, Siptu had not been kept up to date with the work of the scheme’s trustees.
Aer Lingus said yesterday it was aware of the Siptu memo and had noted its contents. “The company remains fully committed to finding a resolution to the funding difficulties with the IASS,” it said.
The company’s chief executive, Christoph Mueller, said during the summer he hoped the matter could be settled by the end of the year.