Court urges Irish Life staff to take €1.5k in lieu of bonuses

The Labour Court has recommended that staff at Irish Life seeking a restoration of bonuses instead receive €1,500 for the ending of the scheme.

In February, members of Unite, which represents 1,000 staff at the company, voted 95% in favour of industrial action in pursuit of a pay rise and reintroduction of a profit-sharing or bonus scheme.

Unite and Irish Life met at the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court with the latter giving the sides a deadline of August 7 to reach agreement.

With both parties unable to reach a compromise, the Labour Court has now ruled that staff should receive a 2% pay increase, with effect from April 1 last.

Staff had sought the restoration of a bonus scheme dating back to 1994 that ended when the Government took control of Irish Life during the financial crisis. Last year, the firm was sold to Great-West Lifeco for €1.3bn.

The Labour Court ruled that Unite’s claim for a buyout of the bonus, at three times its annual value, was without merit. It ruled that some compensation for the permanent elimination of the agreed bonus is warranted and recommended Irish Life pay staff €1,500 in two payments, at Christmas and on March 31, 2015.

A spokeswoman said Unite will hold a meeting with its Irish Life members no later than November 4 to discuss the ruling.


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