IMPACT withdraws from joint forum at DAA over state dividends issue

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“The staff have played a crucial role in sustaining the DAA’s profitability, and reports that the board would resume state dividend payments, ahead of pay restoration measures, demonstrates a willingness on the part of the employer to have the staff subsidise the dividend payments. Under those circumstances our continuing participation in the forum has become untenable” – IMPACT official Johnny Fox

Representatives of IMPACT, Mandate and SIPTU have notified the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) that they have formally withdrawn from the joint staff/management forum because of concerns over the Authority’s plans to resume paying state dividends.

The joint negotiating forum on the ‘New Engagement Model’ has been working on various change management issues in recent weeks. National media reports emerged earlier this week stating that the board of the DAA intends to resume paying a dividend to the State for the first time since dividends were suspended in 2009 due to the economic crisis.

In a joint letter to the DAA’s chief executive, Kevin Toland, the unions said that reports of a resumption of state dividend payments, ahead of pay restoration for DAA workers, had provoked considerable anger among staff.

IMPACT assistant general secretary Johnny Fox explained, “Our members at DAA have come through six years of significant temporary pay reductions ranging from 4.25 per cent to 9 per cent, in addition to other significant changes to their terms and conditions of employment.

“The staff have played a crucial role in sustaining the DAA’s profitability, and reports that the board would resume state dividend payments, ahead of pay restoration measures, demonstrates a willingness on the part of the employer to have the staff subsidise the dividend payments. Under those circumstances our continuing participation in the forum has become untenable,” he said.

The joint letter states that the unions have withdrawn from the joint forum until the DAA provides assurances that such state dividends will not be paid in advance of confirmation of the full restoration of the temporary pay cuts contained in the 2010 Cost Recovery Programme Agreement.