Homes and businesses face likely blackouts in national grid pension dispute

More than 90% of Eirgrid workers vote on industrial action

Union members  say they have endured a decade-long pay freeze. Photograph: iStock

Union members say they have endured a decade-long pay freeze. Photograph: iStock

 

Homes and businesses in the Republic face possible electricity blackouts as staff at the national grid have voted for industrial action.

More than 90 per cent of 200 staff at national electricity grid operator Eirgrid voted for industrial action on Friday in a dispute over pensions and pay.

The move means that families and employers face potential disruption to electricity supplies if the dispute is not resolved and the action goes ahead.

Members of the Energy Sector Professionals’ Association (ESPA), affiliated to trade union, Unite, are unhappy with the way Eirgrid has introduced changes to their pension scheme.

They also say they have endured a decade-long pay freeze, although it is understood that the State company maintains that it has increased wages during that time.

National grids

State-owned Eirgrid manages the national grids in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, where staff voted last week for industrial action in a separate dispute over pay.

The national grid is the backbone of the country’s system for transmitting electricity to homes, businesses and other organisations.

Electricity travels through it from generators to distribution systems which transmit the power to individual customers.