Exploratory talks between daa and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) held today to seek a fair and balanced resolution to pension issues at the company ended without agreement.
daa is particularly disappointed at this development given that the Trustee of the IASS pension scheme only recently clarified its proposals for restructuring that scheme following a protracted three-year process.
The Trustee proposal, combined with last year’s Labour Court recommendation on pension arrangements, provides the framework within which a resolution to these complex pension issues can be achieved.
ICTU failed to engage in any meaningful discussions about the make-up of the Trustee and Labour Court proposals against the back-drop of SIPTU threatening industrial action.
daa reaffirmed today its conditional offer to invest more than €50 million in up-front payments into a new Defined Contribution Scheme for employee members of the IASS pension scheme, to reflect required changes to that scheme and other pension arrangements.
This offer arose from the Labour Court recommendation, designed to deliver “fair arrangements that will safeguard, as far as possible, the interests of current members of the IASS scheme and to provide the optimum level of further pension protection to affected employees consistent with commercial reality”.
The position put by ICTU today goes far beyond the terms of that recommendation and seeks funding from the company to provide pension benefits which are not sustainable.
daa believes the upfront sum of more than €50 million it is conditionally prepared to invest for employee members of the IASS and the additional €50 million it is prepared to invest in higher ongoing employer contributions for all employees into the DC scheme, is sufficient, based on the terms of the Labour Court recommendation and represents a generous offer.
daa has also offered to evaluate how the upfront sum might best be distributed amongst individual employee members of the IASS so as to mitigate the impact of benefit cuts arising from the recently-announced Trustee proposal.
daa recognises the valid concerns of employee members of the IASS about their pension arrangements and has made a fair and balanced resolution of this issue its top priority. But with limited profitability and net debt of over €600 million arising from significant investment at its Irish airports over the past decade, the company cannot afford to undermine its financial stability and future growth potential in response to unreasonable and unsustainable union demands on this issue.
daa calls again on ICTU and SIPTU not to threaten the company, its customers and the travelling public with unnecessary disruption. The company is available to re-enter discussions to achieve a sustainable and equitable resolution to this matter.