Airport staff ballot over pensions

14th July 2012

Aer Lingus staff and IMPACT members at the Dublin Airport Authority
are currently balloting for industrial action as Labour Relations
Commission-brokered talks have so far failed to reach agreement over
funding of the Irish Aviation Superannuation Scheme (IASS), which covers
staff in the two companies. Members of the pilots’ branch IALPA are
expected to ballot shortly.

The ballot would enable industrial action to take place if the
employers “fail to ensure that the IASS is adequately funded in a manner
which is agreed to by the majority of members.” Although no firm
decision on the possible nature of industrial action has been taken, it
could include an overtime ban, work to rule, non-cooperation, limited
work stoppages or withdrawal of labour.

While unions recognise that the IASS is unlikely to be able to meet
all future pension provision, they have sought to secure 100% of the
benefits so far accrued by members of the scheme, and to reach an
agreement of equal value to staff in both companies.

IMPACT national secretary Matt Staunton said limited progress was
made in negotiations, but a number of issues remained unresolved. “Talks
have adjourned at the request of the unions in order to review the
situation,” he said.

The talks were complicated by a Pensions Board decision to
reintroduce its funding standard with a new requirement to have a risk
reserve. “There is now a genuine concern that the employers could
withdraw from the LRC process and effectively force the trustees to wind
up the scheme in the most unfavourable of circumstances. This
underlines the requirement to have a strong agreement in place,” said
Matt.

Unions say the situation was not helped by Aer Lingus’s decision to
seek permission to pay shareholder dividends from capital reserves while
the pension scheme remains in deficit.

Ballot papers are available from the union branches and should be
returned to the following address by 5.00pm 30th July 2012: IASS
Industrial Action Ballot Paper, IMPACT, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1

Separately, the IALPA branch is balloting pilots at Aer Arann. This
follows several months of consultation between IALPA and Aer Arann
pilots over roster patterns and the imposition of pay cuts in 2009.
IALPA has sought meetings with management over the issues but the
company refuses to meet union representatives.

The ballot would allow industrial action to take place if the company
fails to implement a “stable and balanced roster system.” The branch is
also calling for the immediate reinstatement of a 2006 pay agreement.

Completed ballot papers should be returned to IALPA, Corballis Park, Dublin Airport, before 12pm on Thursday 19th July.