LRC steps in to avert strike at Dublin Airport

THE Labour Relations Commission has intervened in the pensions dispute between the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and its unions, which threatens to escalate into full-scale strike action.

SIPTU, which represents 1,200 staff at the airport, yesterday confirmed its members had voted 98% in favour of industrial action in an attempt to improve their pension entitlements. The pension scheme at the DAA is part of the Irish Aviation Superannuation Scheme, which also includes employees of Aer Lingus and the SR Technics airline maintenance firm. Changes in staffing numbers in the constituent companies has meant that two contributing DAA employees are having to contribute to benefit one benefactor member.

The union said it has been calling for that anomaly to be addressed since it lodged a claim three years ago. Relations between the two sides soured dramatically in March when the company produced a document listing 27 changes it wanted to implement as part of a settlement in the pensions dispute. The union said among those changes is an outsourcing of functions carried out by SIPTU members in the DAA.

“It is quite evident that the staff of the Dublin Airport Authority have had enough,” said Dermot O’Loughlin of SIPTU.

“Billions of euros are spent on bricks and mortar; millions of euros are spent on consultants and advisors, but just a pittance spent on the provision of a meaningful pension.”

While the form of industrial action to be taken will be not decided until later today by an industrial disputes committee, the union has said it will take immediate action if the company makes any attempt to introduce any of the 27 changes. Both sides have accepted an invitation to the Labour Relations Commission.

Last night, the DAA called on SIPTU to participate in the LRC process and to assure Dublin Airport’s customers that no form of industrial action would be contemplated until the process was concluded. “The DAA... has stated that it is prepared to invest up to €30m to secure an appropriate and equitable solution to the pension issues raised. Trade union representatives acknowledged from the outset that any significant investment in new pension arrangements by the company would require agreed cost management measures in return. In this context, the DAA strongly believes any threat of industrial action at Dublin Airport is unwarranted and a source of needless concern to customers as we enter the busy holiday season,” it said.


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