Aer Lingus Pension Crisis

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Dáil Issues, Oral Questions, Transport Tourism and Sport

 I recently asked the Minister for Transport an number of questions about the on going pension crisis at Aer Lingus.

To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport as the holder of 25% ownership of Aer Lingus if he will outline the contact he has had with the company in relation to recent pension problems, including threatened industrial action and legal action.

Clare Daly.
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 2nd April, 2014.

Ref No:
15141/14 Lottery: 8

Dáil Question
No:

To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views as a major shareholder in Aer Lingus, calling on the airline not to proceed with suing SIPTU and a union official doing their duty, for a strike that never went ahead; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Richard Boyd Barrett. For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 2nd April, 2014.     Ref No: 15155/14 Lottery: 36

Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
Leo Varadkar

REPLY

These questions relate to the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS) and to threatened legal action by Aer Lingus against SIPTU in the context of the threatened strike action on March 14th last.

I refer the Deputies to my answer to Priority PQ 1 earlier today which addresses the issues raised.

Dáil Question
No: 19

To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if it is his view that problems in the Dublin Airport Authority pension scheme are an impediment to the secure development of the airport authority..
– Clare Daly.
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 2nd April, 2014.

Ref No:
15142/14 Lottery: 15

Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
Leo Varadkar

REPLY

This question relates to the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS), a multi-employer scheme which involves the employees of Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) along with Shannon Airport Authority, Aer Lingus and the now defunct SRT Technics.
I refer the Deputy to my answer to Priority PQ 1 earlier today which addresses the current difficulties with this pension scheme.  Notwithstanding these difficulties, I am satisfied that the DAA is complying with its statutory responsibility to manage, operate and develop its airports in line with its commercial mandate.

Dáil Question
No: 1

To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the expert review of the Irish airlines superannuation scheme dispute; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Timmy Dooley.
For PRIORITY answer on Wednesday, 2nd April, 2014.

Ref No:
15169/14

Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
Leo Varadkar

REPLY

The Expert Panel was appointed on 3 March following consultations between my Department and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation with Ibec and ICTU.  The Panel was asked to carry out an investigation of how a final resolution of the industrial relations issues with the IAS Scheme can be secured.  On Monday last, the Panel made a preliminary report to the two Departments, Ibec and ICTU. The Panel also issued a statement summarising the progress of its work to date.

The Panel has held a series of meetings with all the relevant parties including the DAA, SAA, Aer Lingus, the trade unions and representatives of deferred members and pensioners.  Through these meetings, it has identified a number of critical issues that it believes should now be jointly explored, so as to deepen its understanding of the scope for progress between the parties. Intensive discussions on these issues are already underway and the Panel will report back by 14 April.  It is important that these discussions and deliberations be allowed proceed over the coming weeks without interference so that a resolution can be found to this long-standing and complex issue.
As Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport I have no formal function in relation to the resolution of the funding difficulties of the IAS Scheme. This is primarily a matter for the trustees, the members of the scheme, the companies participating in the scheme and the regulator of such pension schemes – the Pensions Board.

The purpose of the Expert Panel is to identify the critical issues and facilitate the parties to find a solution. In circumstances where this work is still underway, the threat of industrial or legal action between the parties is not helpful. I hope that all the parties involved will put all their efforts into engaging with the Expert Panel in order to find the most feasible and equitable solution to this matter in a timely manner. This would be in the best interests of all parties.