DAA unions to ballot workers on proposals to end pensions deadlock

Impact, Mandate, TEEU and Unite plan ballots, says airport authority

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) unions plan to begin balloting workers in coming weeks on proposals to end the deadlock over the €750 million hole in the pension scheme jointly operated by the State company and Aer Lingus.

The news comes as it has also emerged that the retirement plan’s trustees intend to seek approval from the pensions’regulator for proposals that involve freezing its existing assets and clawing backbenefits from workers and retired staff already drawing an income from the scheme.

Unions and management at Aer Lingus and the airport company have been in dispute for over four years over the €750 million shortfall in the insolvent Irish Airlines’ Superannuation Scheme (IASS).

Yesterday DAA chief executive Kevin Toland circulated staff informing them the "Impact, Mandate, TEEU and Unite trade unions plan to hold member ballots" in the coming weeks and have recommended the settlement proposals.



Siptu has yet to indicate when it will ballot its members as it has a number of concerns relating to airport police and fire fighters. However, it is understood that the union intends to meet DAA management next week to deal with this.

Mr Toland’s circular confirms that the company is on course to meet the union next week and said that it remains a priority to get agreement on the issues over the next month.

Aer Lingus IASS members voted last week by a 70-30 majority to accept the proposals and the publicly-quoted company plans to hold an extraordinary general meeting shortly to get shareholder backing for its side of the bargain.

New scheme

Alongside proposals to freeze and derisk the plan’s assets and the benefit cuts, workers and deferred IASS members will move to new defined contribution scheme.

Aer Lingus has pledged to contribute €191 million to seeding the new scheme while the DAA has committed to paying €72 million. Mr Toland told staff yesterday DAA intends to have the new defined contribution plan up and running on January 1st.

Meanwhile, the IASS trustees, chaired by Brian Duncan, have written to all members confirming that it plans to seek approval from the regulator, the Pensions' Board's, for the benefit cuts to active and deferred members and a clawback from pensioners. The Retired Aviation Staff Association, which represents pensioners facing cuts, which the organisation claims will be equivalent of six weeks income every year, said it is likely to go ahead with legal action.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas