Members of IMPACT trade union working at Aer Lingus, and who are members of the Irish Aviation Superannuation Scheme (IASS), have voted to approve proposals to address the pension scheme’s deficit of €707m. The union represents cabin crew and middle management workers in Aer Lingus.
The ballot, conducted by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions airport group, which includes members of Siptu and the TEEU, voted by a margin of 70% to 30% in favour of the proposals, which were developed by the specially appointed Expert Group on the pension scheme.
IMPACT national secretary Matt Staunton said the ballot result brings an end to five years of anxiety and uncertainty for the workers in the scheme. “It also brings an end to the sense of dread that there might be no pension when they retire. Having worked and contributed for years, this was a dreadful burden hanging over these workers and their families” he said.
The Expert Group’s report had recommended an increase in the capital sums payable into the pensions of Aer Lingus workers (increased to €146.7million), lower future pension contributions for lower paid active members, and a doubling of the employer’s current contribution.
Following its publication, unions sought implementation proposals from each of the employers (Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport Authority) on which to ballot members. Aer Lingus provided these and union members in the company were asked to ballot on a draft collective agreement containing specific proposals. The proposals included direct payments to staff over the next two years and details of a funded defined contribution (DC) pension scheme for future service.
A ‘personal illustration’ was supplied to members of the scheme, outlining the additional payments the employers would make if the proposals were accepted, and outlining the projected pension benefits at normal retiring age, based on personal details and on certain investment assumptions.
Mr Staunton said the outcome had the potential to deliver a decent percentage of final pay for Aer Lingus workers upon retirement. “The next step now is for the company to convene a meeting of its shareholders to seek approval to pay the additional funds required by the recommendations to address the deficit. Assuming that happens, it will bring these years of uncertainty and intense negotiations to a conclusion” he said.
Mr Staunton called upon Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to immediately provide a similar collective agreement for DAA and Shannon Airport Authority members to vote on.