Business Irish

Monday 22 January 2018

Aer Lingus pensioners to take legal challenge over pension scheme

Action could be spanner in works for IAG's attempted takeover of Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus and DAA workers protest outsde Minister Joan Burton's house
Aer Lingus and DAA workers protest outsde Minister Joan Burton's house
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A group of Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport Authority pensioners says it’s proceeding with a legal challenge to a restructuring of a pension scheme that resulted in their entitlements being cut.

The legal action – if it materialises – could be another spanner in the works for IAG’s attempted €1.4bn takeover of Aer Lingus.

The Retired Aviation Staff Association (RASA) said this afternoon that it has asked its solicitors, LK Shields, to proceed with court action.

It’s unclear at this stage what on what precise grounds RASA will bring its challenge to the restructuring of the defined benefit Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS).

The IASS, which serves almost 15,000 former and current workers at Aer Lingus and the DAA, had a massive deficit.

Following years of negotiations, Aer Lingus agreed to stump up nearly €200m to help establish a new defined contribution scheme for staff. The DAA also been thrashing out an agreement.

RASA’s legal team wrote to the IASS trustee in September last year, taking issue with the IASS restructuring proposal.

IASS pensioners saw the equivalent of six weeks’ pay being cut from their annual pension as a result of the restructuring. That was the first time new legislation that allows clawbacks from pensioners where a fund is insolvent had been used.

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