Friday 15 November 2019

Exclusive: One thousand Bord Gais employees to share in €55m windfall

Average payouts of €55,000 as the company gets ready for sale

ONE THOUSAND Bord Gais employees are to share in a €55m windfall, can exclusively reveal.

The workers at the state-owned utility company are to get payouts averaging €55,000, a meeting in Cork was told today.

News of the bounty for the gas and water workers was announced as part of the process of getting the company ready for sale.

An independent valuation of Bord Gais was commissioned to establish how big a windfall staff and former employees will get for their 3.25pc stake in the company held through an Employee Share Ownership Trust (ESOT).

Only employees who were working for the company between 2005 and 2009 will share in any windfall. The company is obliged to buy out the ESOT stake because of the break-up of the business. Once it does, the remaining network and water units will be 100pc state-owned.

Cork-based workers with the company were the first to hear today at a Employee Share Options roadshow.

Workers in Dublin and Belfast will get the good news later this evening, the Cork meeting was told.

While the average payout is €55,000, some workers and pensioners will get higher windfalls of more than €60,000.

The money will be paid out over five years.

Before Christmas the Government here announced that agreement had been struck on a deal to sell Bord Gais Energy to a consortium made up of British Gas owner Centrica, Brookfield Renewables and iCON Infrastructure.

Bord Gais Energy will be broken up following the sale and staff will transfer to three new companies, depending on the unit they work in.

Centrica will take over the main Bord Gais Energy sales business, which supplies gas and electricity to around 900,000 households and businesses, as well as taking over the Whitegate gas-powered electricity station in Cork. It will also get the bulk of current BGE staff.

Canada's Brookfield Renewables will buy Bord Gais's wind farms and planned wind-farm developments.

Staff at Bord Gais Energy are also to receive a separate payout of €4,000 to compensate for being moved to the private sector when the company is sold.

The one-off 'ex gratia' payment will only be made to staff whose jobs will transfer to the buyers of BGE. It is part of a package of proposals that includes an assurance for workers that current terms and conditions of employment will not change when BGE is sold, and that no staff will lose their jobs under the privatisation plan.

The cash payment is understood to have been sought by unions to compensate staff for the restructuring of the business, and for the move from the semi-state sector to the private sector. It will be subject to tax.

Online Editors

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