Retired CIÉ staff to share €1m boost under new pension proposals
New plans come after years of talks between unions and management over fund deficits
There are currently two CIÉ staff pension schemes, both with multimillion euro deficits
Several thousand pensioners who formerly worked for the State-owned CIÉ transport companies are to share a once-off €1 million boost as part of proposed new pension reforms.
Following three years of talks between unions and management at the Workplace Relations Commission, new plans for reform were put forward on Wednesday. The proposals seek to address deficits in the two existing pension schemes for staff at Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann, mainly through changes to retirement ages.
Both schemes, which offer defined benefit pensions, are to remain open for new entrants with some structural changes.
Pension payments are expected to rise for staff in Irish Rail and Dublin Bus to take account of a new 39-hour working week and the incorporation of shift allowance.
There are currently two CIÉ pension schemes; one known as the 1951 scheme mainly covers adminstrative staff. It has about 2,100 active members and is understood to have a deficit of about €230 million.
The other scheme, known as the regular wages scheme, covers frontline staff such as bus and train drivers across the three CIÉ companies. It has about 6,500 active members and is understood to have a deficit of about €110 million.
Retirement age for members of the regular wages scheme has been set at a notional or actuarial level of 60 years, although sources said that in reality the actual retirement age has been 65 years.
Under the new proposals the retirement age for those who joined before April 1995 will qualify for pension at age 65 or after 40 years service, whichever is the earliest.
For those who joined between April 1994 and March 2004 the retirement age will be 66 or after 40 years service, whichever is earliest.
For those who joined between April 2004 and December 2012 the retirement age will be 66, and for those who joined after January 2013 the retirement age will be set at the age for qualification for the State pension scheme.
The retirement gratuity for members of the regular wages scheme will increase by 35 per cent to the equivalent of 1.25 years pay.
Sources said pensions for drivers in Dublin Bus would increase by about €40-€45 per week to take account of the incorporation of shift allowance into pension arrangements.
Pensions for train drivers would rise by about €30 per week due to changes in the working week, sources said.
Sources also said pensions for staff at Bus Éireann had already increased on the back of a pay deal agreed in 2017.
Under the new proposals CIÉ is to make €1 million available for distribution to existing pensioners who are receiving pensions (inclusive of the State pension) below the living wage as calculated by the Living Wage Technical Group – about €25,000 per year.