FAI pay dispute heading to the Labour Court
Siptu says only small fraction of money lost by members in 2012 cuts has been restored
FAI chief executive John Delaney. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Siptu has asked the Labour Court to deal with its pay restoration claim on behalf of the staff it represents at the FAI after the association refused its request to have the matter dealt with by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
When asked recently about staff pay by a member of the Dáil committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport, the association’s chief executive John Delaney suggested that some of the cuts made during the most acute period of the organisation’s financial difficulties were currently being reversed.
However, Denis Hynes, the Siptu sector organiser who represents the staff, says that only a small fraction of the money lost by his members in 2012 has since been restored.
In some instances, he says, staff lost between 20 and 30 per cent of their annual salary (with the organisation’s regional development officers said to have been hit hardest) but with a commitment that the cuts would only be temporary.
Now, against a background of repeated claims by Delaney that the association’s financial position has dramatically improved, the union is looking for the pay restoration to be implemented.
“We’re looking for restoration of the pay levels prior to the cuts of August 2012, which were to be in place for a period of 18 months only,” said Hynes on Monday.
“Receiving a paltry three per cent last June was simply not enough. We asked the FAI to engage with us in the WRC to find a resolution to this dispute but they declined to do so.
“It left us with no option but to submit an application for a full hearing at the Labour Court, which we have done. The case will be heard inside three months.”
If no agreement is reached, then the union, which represents a significant number of staff at the association, though not a majority, is expected to ballot their members for industrial action, up to and including an all-out strike.
Hynes says that if the FAI’s position is that they cannot afford to restore the money, then it should be prepared to open its books to independent outside assessors and prove it, a relatively common procedure in such disputes.
“As part of the process, we will be looking for an independent assessment of the FAI accounts,” he said. “Our members are feeling completely frustrated at the lack of progress in this dispute.”
The FAI have not responded to requests for comment on the issue.