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Govt intervene in Aer Lingus pension row

Monday, March 03 14:26:11

The Government has intervened in the dispute with airline unions over pensions, setting up an Expert Panel together with ICTU boss David Begg and Ibec's Danny McCoy.

The Secretary General of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Tom O'Mahony, and the Secretary General of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, John Murphy will also be on the panel to carry out an urgent investigation of how a final resolution of the industrial relations issues relating to the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS) can be secured.

Ibec and Congress have each nominated an industrial relations expert to lead the investigation, with the support of a financial expert, to comprise the Panel. The Panel members are: Mr Brendan McGinty and Ms Laura Gallagher (KPMG), and Mr Peter McLoone and Mr Eugene McMahon (Mazars).

Important areas of disagreement remain between the parties which have resulted in the current impasse. However, in the case of DAA and Aer Lingus, it is noted that the Labour Court in 2013 recommended a range of measures to address the pension deficit and related matters. These were designed to put in place a fair basis for resolving the complex issues involved and arrangements that will safeguard, as far as possible, the interests of current members of the IASS scheme and to provide the optimum level of future pension provision consistent with commercial reality without undermining business viability and putting employment at risk, according to the Department of Transport.

The resolution of the differences between the parties will also need to take into account developments since those separate recommendations in May 2013, including changes in the relevant financial assumptions and projections upon which the Labour Court recommendation was made, and the terms and impact of the proposal which has recently emerged on 14 February from the Trustee of the IASS, it said.

The Expert Panel is being asked to carry out a detailed investigation, to include discussions with relevant stakeholders including management and the relevant trade unions and consultations with the LRC and the Labour Court.

It will identify the areas of agreement and disagreement between the parties in the context of the terms of Labour Court Recommendation (CCC-125984-12) in the case of the DAA and (CCC-094293-10) in the case of Aer Lingus) and take account of the terms and impact of the IASS trustee proposal, which has recently emerged on the 14 February 2014, on those Labour Court Recommendations.

It will also identify how those industrial relations issues can be resolved.

The Panel is being asked to make a preliminary report to the two Departments, Ibec and Congress by the end of the month.