Thursday 14 December 2017

Outrage as Irish Rail bosses get better redundancy deals

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

STAFF at Irish Rail are outraged after the company let eight senior executives leave on more attractive packages than lower-paid staff.

The state-owned company has confirmed that since the start of the year, eight managers have left on a voluntary redundancy package that is better than the one being offered to other staff. The package offered to the senior executives is worth one-and-a-half times their pay, and was not capped.

If a manager earned €150,000 a year, they would walk away with €225,000, and the severance payments would rise depending on their pay.

In contrast, the current exit deal on offer to ordinary staff is capped at €130,000.

The redundancy scheme aims to reduce the number of employees at Irish Rail by 450 over four years.

Workers who leave under the scheme get an ex-gratia payment, which rises with their years of service.

The ex-gratia payment ranges from a third of annual pay for someone with up to five years' service, to two years' pay for an employee who has worked at the company for more than 30 years.

They also get a termination bonus of €30,000 on top of their statutory redundancy payment. However, the total payments cannot exceed €130,000.

Staff have also complained that the company initially gave some of them exit dates over the next few weeks, but recently told them they could not go until October. In contrast, the last of the eight senior executives left last month.

The National Bus and Rail Union said the cap on the current package drastically reduced the amount staff with longer service would get.

It said the scheme for senior managers appears to have been negotiated directly with them, and unions and staff were kept in the dark.

Concern

It wrote to the company yesterday saying it was "illogical" to delay staff leaving when the aim of its cost reducing programme is to make savings.

"The proposals which were put to our members emanated from a number of conciliation conferences held under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission," said assistant general secretary Dermot O'Leary.

"A further concern has now surfaced in relation to allegations that executives may have left the company under terms far more attractive than those that have been offered to our members".

Over 160 staff have already been accepted to leave Irish Rail under the new severance scheme which is designed to reduce its €45m deficit.

The workforce of over 4,000 has also agreed cuts to their conditions of employment, including a 20pc reduction in expenses.

Irish Rail said that senior executives were afforded the opportunity to take voluntary severance deals worth one-and-a-half times their salary.

It said individuals with longer service in senior executive roles who had not yet reached retirement age were allowed to go, but had to apply by the end of last year.

"Exit dates for each were subject to business needs, and individuals have exited at various points in the first six months of the year, including one in June," it said.

Irish Independent

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