independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Blackout threat averted as ESB pension dispute settled

ESB Group of Unions general secretary Brendan Ogle arriving at ESB Head Office

THE ESB strike is off as unions and management have struck a deal on the dispute over the black hole in the pension fund.

The strike would have caused power cuts across the country from next Monday.

After three days of talks at the Labour Relations Commission, an agreement is understood to have been reached.

The deal has two main components:

* the scheme is a Defined Benefit pension scheme.

* whenever deficits arise in the scheme both sides will talk to with each other to agree arrangements to deal with such deficits.

The ESB group of unions confirmed the “Strike Notice will be withdrawn”.

The Labour Court was on standby waiting for the LRC process to run its course.

ESB workers revealed plans at the weekend to mount a crippling all-out strike next Monday, which would have resulted in a complete shut-down of all power generation.

The unions’ dispute committee made the threat just hours before workers met with management at secret talks, aimed at resolving a row over a €1.6bn hole in the company’s pension fund.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte asked the LRC to get involved last week as the prospect of an all out strike loomed.

A statement just released by the ESB Group of Unions said: “The resolution is on the basis of the Union Mandate to protect the ESB Pension Scheme as

a Defined Benefit Pension Scheme and to maintain existing agreements being fully met. As a result the ESB Disputes Committee have confirmed that Strike Notice will be withdrawn.

“This resolution underpins the agreed position regarding our members’ pension scheme.”

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