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Aer Lingus staff back plan to plug pension gap

Staff at Aer Lingus have backed proposals to tackle a massive €700m deficit at a pension scheme.

Efforts have been going on for years to resolve the issue, which has been hugely divisive and led to damaging industrial strife.

The Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS) pension serves about 15,000 former and current Aer Lingus, Dublin Airport Authority and Shannon Airport Authority workers.

Yesterday's vote in favour of a deal was by the Aer Lingus contingent of the IASS. The airline can move forward with plans for a special shareholder meeting to seek investor backing for the deal.

Aer Lingus has agreed to stump up about €191m to establish a new defined contribution pension scheme, while the existing IASS will be frozen. Its assets will be invested in bonds to generate stable returns.

But existing pensioners receiving over €12,000 a year will have their entitlements reduced by 10pc, while those in receipt of over €54,000 a year will have the pension cut by 20pc.

Legal action against the move is being considered by a group representing pensioners who have already retired. Deferred members, who are not retired but are no longer making contributions to the IASS, are also considering legal action.

Irish Independent