A ballot for strike action by Siptu members in Aer Lingus, Dublin Airport Authority, and Shannon Airport Authority will not impact on flights during the Christmas period, the union has pledged.
Siptu aviation sector organiser Dermot O’Loughlin said the decision to ballot members had been taken after talks on how to resolve the almost €800m deficit in the sectoral pension scheme had become a “farce”.
In October, management at Aer Lingus insisted it would not raise its proposed contribution to the ailing scheme, even though the scheme’s trustees believe members’ benefits will have to be cut by up to 25%.
Mr O’Loughlin said the sides had last met in November and that had yielded no progress. He said members were continuing to put €80 per week into a scheme from which there was no guarantee they were going to get anything.
“In the last three years we have paid in over €50m — and we will probably get absolutely no benefits from these contributions,” he said.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that while the trustees of the pension scheme had come up with a proposal for the Pensions Board on how to resolve the deficit:
“Independent pension advice strongly suggests that trustees’ proposals are too risky, and the Pensions Board has suspended assessing pension trustee proposals until a new law is passed — this could add a further six months to this crisis,” he said.
Mr O’Loughlin said there were many more reasons why the union was balloting its members, who are mainly Aer Lingus ground crew as well as DAA and SAA staff.
“But in short it is to demand that all employers agree to providing, at a minimum, 100% of their employee’s past accrued expected benefits and that any future pension arrangements are controlled by the employees directly,” said Mr O’Loughlin. “The entirety of this process should begin now in an intensity and sincerity that has not occurred in the past.”
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