ESB RETIRED STAFF ASSOCIATION REPRESENTING ESB PENSIONERS AND STAFF ON VSS

LEVY FOR LIFE

ON OUR PENSIONS

THE GOVERNMENT’S LEGACY

____________________________________

Click Here for Link to Radio Kerry Interview with ESBRSA Chairman Tony Collins re 7.7% Pension Raise Claim

Update 13th April 2022

Dear Members,
The recent issue of Pension Pay Advice slips added overdue retrospection payment to normal pension payment without identification of the retrospection and the tax years during which they should have been paid. 
Two emails were sent to ESB Pensions Manager James O’Loughlin about the matter.These emails are copied below..

I intend to email ESB asking for a written certification of the amount of retrospection for each of the years during which they should have been paid so that I may submit it to Revenue. Perhaps if we all do that it will solve a problem that should never have arisen and avoid a repetition in future.
Kind Regards

Matt Kelly

ESBRSA Website Admin. 

Below are two letters sent to Pensions Manager, James O’Loughlin, by Tony Collins, Chairman National Executive, ESBRSA

Dear James,

Further to yesterday’s email, I & my colleagues have received more queries regarding the payment of the pension increase and the manner in which it has been displayed on the payslip.

The retrospective element of the increase spans a number of years and should have been displayed on the payslip showing the amount of retrospection in respect of each year.

Many pensioners in normal circumstances with an average monthly/weekly pension payment are very close to the threshold of the higher tax rate and a lump such as the one just paid will move them into the higher tax bracket. Consequently, they will pay the higher tax rate on their lump sum when in reality if the increase was paid in a timely fashion they would have been taxed at the lower rate.

To be fair to all pensioners consideration should have been given to the above when the pension increases were being applied.

ESBRSA believe that ESB Payroll has a responsibility in this regard and should take steps to rectify the situation by informing pensioners of the correct amount of retrospection in respect of each tax year.

I look forward to hearing your response and that of ESB Payroll on this matter.

Sincerely yours

Tony Collins

Chairman, National Executive


Dear James,

I hope you and yours are keeping well. Most pensioners will have received their pension payslips by now. I know ESBRSA have received a number of complaints/comments at this stage.It never ceases to amaze me how some people get things so wrong at times.When the previous pension increase of 0.2% was paid some years ago, also in arrears, ESBRSA wrote to you regarding the confusion caused by the layout of the payslip, the retrospective element of the increase was included in the gross pension amount and some pensioners thought that they had received a larger increase than they actually did. Can you imagine their shock/surprise when they realised it was only 0.2%. ESBRSA had to write to our network of branches to explain the payslip.The recent increase has been paid in exactly the same manner. To err once is human, to err twice is careless. When I worked in a wages unit in ESB more than 50 years ago we had a simple basic wages system, but if a wage increase was paid in arrears, the retrospection was displayed separately on the payslip, which was self-explanatory. I fail to understand why, with the sophisticated online real-time payroll system in ESB now, what should be a simple task, appears complicated to the employee/pensioner.The late payment of the pension increase more than 3 years in arrears, apart from being disrespectful of pensioners, particularly the hundreds of those who have passed away in the last 3 years or so and never had the benefit of the increase, also presents another problem in that lump sum payments can mean some pensioners move into a higher tax bracket. We have already received a complaint in that regard at this early stage.On behalf of all pensioners I ask that you consider the above and get it right next time, when the next increase is paid, i.e the 3.7% due from 1st  January 2022. Please  don’t delay this payment further, as many pensioners are now feeling the effects of the serious increase in inflation and the increased cost of living.

Sincerely yours 

Tony Collins, Chairman, National Executive, ESB Retired Staff Association

Update 8th April 2022

Hello Everyone,
Many Thanks to Freida Murray who asked that we to circulate this lovely Acknowledgement from Margaret Shanahan, wife of the late Liam Shanahan retired, ESB Networks, Distribution Dept., ESB Projects Department and ESBI. We were all saddened when Liam bravely passed away last November, following a prolonged illness.

 Thank you from Margaret Shanahan

Dear All,

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all my children, grandchildren and extended Shanahan family, to say a very big thank you to all the ESB friends and colleagues that Liam had throughout his lifetime. 

Liam would’ve been very proud to receive your beautiful sentiments and memories of him. 

Courage, dignity and humour were mentioned so many times, that’s the only way to remember Liam for sure.

Kind Regards,

Margaret Shanahan

Update 25th March 2022

Dear Member,

The Industrial Relations Provisions in Respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers Bill 2021

The Irish government has launched a consultation process on the above Bill, which was first introduced by Brid Smith (PBF) in the Dail on 30th June 2021, and proposes to give retired workers’ access to industrial relations mechanisms for pensions related issues.

The consultation, launched by the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, will run until Friday 22 April 2022.

The Department are seeking the views of interested parties on a proposal for the introduction of a statutory right for retired persons to be included in collective trade disputes, and how to balance the proposed new rights for retired persons with the current rights and interests of workers and employers who engage in the bargaining process.

The government intends to review submissions by mid-May with further direct stakeholder engagement, including with representative organisations. The outcome of the consultation will feed into the government’s response to the proposals.

The Collective Network of pensioner organisations under the banner of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament (ISCP) will be making a submission to this process on behalf of all the constituent organisations of the Collective Network.

ESBRSA will also be making a submission as part of this process, so if any of our members wish to contribute to this submission please contact our website coordinator on info@esbrsa.ie and your views will be forwarded to the Executive Committee.

All organisations representing retired workers will be encouraged to make a submission in support of the views put forward by the Collective Network.

Please see below for the template released by the Department for making submissions.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Public Consultation on Retired Workers Access to Industrial Relations Mechanisms for Pension Related Issues

The purpose of this consultation is to seek your views on proposals arising from a Private Members Bill for the introduction of a statutory right for retired persons to be included in collective trade disputes and how to balance the proposed new rights for retired persons with the current rights and interests of workers and employers who engage in the bargaining process, along with considering;

  • What, if any, additionality could the proposals provide to the existing protections for retired persons including those provided by the Pensions Authority, the Financial Services and the Pensions Ombudsman;
  • The effectiveness of the existing timeframe which already allows a retired person access to the industrial relations bodies in a period of 6-months post-retirement for matters arising pre-retirement please see section 26A Revised Acts (lawreform.ie) and
  • Whether there is the potential for new or enhanced methods of consultation through the introduction of alternative systems, networks or fora which might assist retired workers in engaging more fully on pension related issues.

The document provides space for your responses to the questions set out.

Your Name: _____________________________________________________

Organisation (if applicable): ________________________________________

Telephone Number: ______________________________________________

E-mail: _________________________________________________________

Please indicate if this submission is made in a personal/employee capacity, an employer capacity or on behalf of your institution, organisation or group.

Name of company, institution, organisation or group covered by this submission:

Text Box: Respondents are requested to make their submissions by email to: 
irsection@enterprise.gov.ie
The closing date for submissions is Friday 22nd April at 3pm.
________________________________________________________________

I.      Background

The Government has agreed to carry out a consultation to allow for full consideration of the proposals as set out and the possible implications of these. Part of this detailed consideration also involves a consultation process with the other relevant government departments, representative organisations, trade unions and employer bodies.

To ensure that the views of all stakeholders are considered, submissions are now invited during a six-week public consultation period from Friday 11th March to Friday 22nd April 2022.  

Submissions will be reviewed by mid-May with further direct stakeholder engagement, including with representative organisations, scheduled as required.  The outcome of the consultation will feed into the Government’s response to the proposals.

II.   Existing Protections for Retired Workers’ Pension Entitlements

Protections Under the Pensions Act

Section 50 of the Pensions Act 1990 provides that the Pensions Authority may make a direction to reduce pension benefits payable to, or respect of, all scheme member cohorts (active, deferred and pensioner members) in order to satisfy the funding standard, and continue to allow the scheme to operate.

There are limits in respect of the amount by which pensioner benefits can be reduced.  With effect from 25 December 2013:

  • No reduction may be made from an annual pension of €12,000 or less and no reduction may be made which reduces an annual pension to below €12,000.
  • If an annual pension is over €12,000 and less than €60,000, a reduction may be made by a percentage no greater than 10% and to an amount which is no less than €12,000.
  • If an annual pension is €60,000 or more, a reduction may be made by a percentage no greater than 20% and to an amount which is no less than €54,000.

The 2013 changes were designed to spread the risk of scheme underfunding to all scheme member cohorts and to ensure a more equitable sharing of scheme resources where restructuring is required while still providing for significant protections to pension benefits already in payment.

While pensioner members have a protection in law in respect of their pension benefits over and above the protection offered to active and deferred members protections there are also opportunities to make submissions to the trustees of a scheme in the context of scheme restructuring.

Other Protections

There are also safeguards available to retired workers particularly given that pension entitlements are property rights and protected in the courts.

In addition, the Pensions Authority plays an important regulatory role in relation to occupational schemes and the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman adjudicates on pension appeals taken by individuals as an avenue to vindicate their rights.

Opportunity for Member Submissions

Current legislation provides that prior to the trustees of a scheme making a section 50 application to the Pensions Authority which could involve reductions to pension payments payable under a scheme, they must consult with the employer, the scheme member, with pensioners and with the authorised trade union representing members. 

Trustees must undertake a comprehensive review of the scheme with a view to the long-term stability and sustainability of the scheme.  In advance of any application, the trustees must notify members and beneficiaries of the scheme, including pensioners, in writing, of matters relating to the proposed application and provide an opportunity for such persons to make submissions to the trustees. Furthermore, the trustees must in accordance with the Prescribed Guidance in Relation to Section 50 of the Pensions Act, 1990[1], give due consideration to these observations.

In the event that the Pensions Authority makes a Section 50 direction, other than on application by the trustees, legislation also provides that the trustees must notify all member cohorts, and provide an opportunity for members, including pensioner members to make a submission/ an appeal in respect of this direction. Furthermore, in these circumstances, the Authority shall, prior to making such a direction, consider the submissions made.

While the opportunity for member submissions and consideration of these submissions is provided for, it is important to note that trustees may need to act in a timely fashion to ensure the long-term stability and sustainability of a scheme.

III.Publication of Consultation Submissions and Freedom of Information

Any personal information, which you volunteer to this Department, will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, strictly in accordance with the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2018. However, please note the following:

  • The information provided in the submission form will be shared with relevant Government Departments and State organisations during the review process.
  • The Department will publish the outcome of the reviews and the submissions received under this consultation on its website, and
  • As information received by the Department is subject to the Freedom of Information Act, such information may be considered for possible release under the FOI Act. The Department will consult with you regarding such information before making a decision should it be required to disclose it.
  • If you wish to submit information that you consider commercially sensitive, please identify that information in your submission and give reasons for considering it commercially sensitive.

IV.Note Regarding Responses

Respondents are encouraged to keep their responses within the box accompanying each question. Please answer any questions that are relevant to you or your organisation.

Question 1: Duties of Pension Scheme Trustees

Pension scheme trustees have duties and responsibilities under trust law, under the Pensions Act 1990, as amended, and under other relevant legislation.  The duties of pension scheme trustees include administering the scheme in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and scheme rules as well as ensuring compliance with the requirements that apply to these schemes. 

Pensioner members may avail of that opportunity to become scheme trustees or nominate others to act on their behalf.  However, national and European law prohibits discrimination in the manner in which trustees are appointed.

Once appointed, trustees have a fiduciary duty to act in the best financial interest of all scheme members, whether active, deferred or retired, and must serve all beneficiaries of the scheme impartially.  If there is a conflict of interest, then a person’s duty as a trustee must, in law, take precedence over other interests. 

Accordingly, any trustee who acts in the interests of one cohort of members, e.g., pensioner members, above the interests of other member cohorts of the scheme would be in breach of his or her fiduciary duty.

  Given the legal and regulatory obligations imposed on pension scheme trustees (see: section_50_-_prescribed_guidance_-_version_3_february_2015_.pdf (pensionsauthority.ie), in particular, their fiduciary duty to serve all scheme members impartially, and the opportunity for member submissions as part of any scheme restructuring process, what is the effectiveness of the current arrangements and are there any other suggestions as to how the interests and concerns of retired workers could better inform trustees in their work consistent with the existing legal framework?  

Question 2: Access to Industrial Relations Mechanisms for Retired Workers on Pension Matters

The 1990 Industrial Relations Act currently allows a retired person to access to the industrial relations bodies in a period of 6-month post-retirement for matters arising pre-retirement.

This 6-months is either from the date of retirement or the date from when it became known or should have been known, the time frame in which to make a complaint for matters arising post-retirement.   This may be extended by the Labour Court in exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis, where the justice of the case so requires.

    Is there a need for the views of retired worker members of pension schemes to be included in the consideration of pension entitlements as part of collectively bargained agreements; if so, how can this be best achieved?   Are there any mechanisms that could provide a way for retired worker members of pension schemes to engage with pension trustees in advance of a separate collectively bargained agreement impacting on pensions?   Are there any disadvantages or challenges that introducing such a mechanism might impose on the voluntary dispute resolution mechanism? If so, what are these?   Could there be any deterrent effect of such a mechanism on the willingness of parties to engage in collectively bargained agreements and as part of the existing IR structures more generally?    

Question 3: Retired Workers and Collective Bargaining

  Could the views of retired workers be balanced with those of workers and employers engaged in negotiations to reach collectively bargained agreements? If so, on what basis?      

Question 4: Implications for Workers and Employers

  If you are an employer or worker, do you believe that including the views of retired workers on changes to pension entitlements proposed as part of collectively bargained agreements, would have any implications (including costs) for either the effectiveness of the current structure for dispute resolution/IR agreements (e.g. positive or negative impacts on industrial harmony) or on the level of pension cover?   

Question 5: Redress Mechanisms for Retired Workers

There already exists safeguards to retired workers to protect their pension rights. Accrued pension entitlements represent property rights which can be vindicated in the courts. Members of occupational pensions schemes also currently have recourse to the offices of the Pensions Authority and the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman.

  How effective are the current redress mechanisms for retired workers?         

Any other comments including the potential for new or enhanced methods for consultation:

                 


 



UPDATE 23rd December, 2021

The National Executive Committee (NEC) wishes all members a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas.

UPDATE 1st November, 2021

ESBMPF have requested that the information below be posted on our website.

ESB Medical Provident Fund
Virtual AGM Notice & Agenda

The 2021 MPF AGM will again be a virtual event this year.
The Trustees, in accordance with Rule 9.3, have convened the Annual
General Meeting of the ESB Staff Medical Provident Fund for the
following date and time:
Date: Thursday 4th November 2021
Time 5pm
If you are a member of the Fund and would like to attend, please
email mpf@esb.ie (including your Policy or Staff Number in the
email) or contact the MPF office at 061 430561 to receive your log
in details. It will be an MS Teams event.
Agenda

  1. Minutes of AGM held on 10th November 2020
  2. Adoption of Minutes
  3. Trustees update for the year 2020
  4. Audited Accounts for year ended 31 December 2020
  5. Update on future direction of MPF
  6. Any Other Business

UPDATE 10th October, 2021

RESULTS OF THE ESOP MARKET DAY OF 29TH SEPTEMBER

For more information see the ESOP website http://www.esbesop.ie/news.html

ESB ESOP
Internal Market Results Announcement
The Internal Market held on 29 September 2021 has now been completed.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the Internal Market Administrator, has advised the
ESOP Trustee that the weighted average successful bid price was €1.12 per share (the
Market Price) and this is the price that will be paid to all successful sellers.
Please note that all forced sale shares were sold. Participants who offered shares for
voluntary sale at minimum prices equal to or below the market price have been
partially successful and sold approximately 29% of shares offered.
PwC will be contacting all participants who submitted market instructions. Payments
to successful sellers are scheduled to begin issuing on 13 October 2021.

UPDATE 22nd September, 2021

ESB has requested that the information below regarding the flu vaccination programme 2021 be posted on the ESBRSA website.

ESB Occupational Health wish to update you on the flu vaccination programme 2021.

HSE are providing free flu vaccinations to all individuals who fall into the at-risk or recommended group which include individuals aged 65 and over.( this maybe be subject to change)

They are also offering a different ‘adjuvant’ flu vaccine for those aged 65 years and over for the first time. This vaccine is only available from the HSE, and will be provided provide through the HSE scheme to those eligible and where stock availability. For more information on Flu vaccine for people over aged 65 and over.

If you are in this category you can receive your flu vaccine directly through your local GP or pharmacy free of charge by declaring that you fall into the at-risk or recommended group. Therefore, for this year’s flu vaccination programme we ask you not to request a voucher through ESB.

The full list of the ‘at risk or recommended groups’ are available on the HSE website.

Vaccines will be available nationwide around 4th October 2021.

For VS staff who are under 65 and do not fall under at-risk or recommended group. You can avail of your vaccine through alternative route through your GP or pharmacy. We wish to support you in doing so by offering a refund of up to €35. All you need to do is submit a refund request form available and you will be refunded through payroll. All refunds will be processed in the 1st quarter of 2022. Please email your receipt and attached form to esbhealthservices@esb.ie or post them to Occupational Health Services, Mailing Room Matthews Building, 38/42 James Place East, Dublin 2.

UPDATE 11th July, 2021

Thanks to David Grundy two photos of groups of Communications Section, System Operations Dept. members dating from the late 1960s have been added to the Gallery.

UPDATE 2nd July, 2021

The Government Amendment to the Industrial Relations (Provisions in Respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers) Bill
2021 — Second Stage which proposed that the Bill be read a second time this day 12 months was carried.

It is significant that the amendment omitted consultation with Retired Workers

to allow for consultation between the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Minister for Social Protection and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, with unions and employers and the Industrial Relations bodies, which will allow for full discussion and exploration of legal and technical issues that may arise, such as increased business costs and business viability, as a result of the proposals and to consider other options for change which might be available, and which would make it more suitable for collective bargaining.” – (Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Damien English)”

Results are below.

The link below will bring you to an Oireachtas website where you can click on the Show member vote results button to see the names of TDs who voted for and against the amendment

Industrial Relations (Provisions in Respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers) Bill 2021: Second Stage (Resumed) [Private Members] – EDITVotes – Dáil Éireann (33rd Dáil) – 2021-06-30 – Houses of the Oireachtas

Amendment put :The Dáil divided:    Tá, 74;     Níl, 62;     Staon, 0.
Amendment declared carried.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

The correspondence below between ESBRSA National Executive Chairman Tony Collins and Micheál Martin T.D. will show bring members up to date on the current situation.

Hi All,

I’m circulating an email that I received from Micheal Martin this morning & my response to that email. I think the Government parties have been rattled and taken aback by the amount of support for Brid Smith’s Bill. Jim circulated the figures for the voting on the Bill and the support for it is significant. I also believe that the Government were surprised by the support that Brid’s Bill received from representative organisations for retired workers and the strength of feeling in the way retired workers have been treated by Government parties. I believe that we need to keep the pressure on the Government and continue to lobby all Government TD’s in order to progress this issue much earlier than the 12 months indicated in the Government amendment. I would urge all branches to encourage their membership to continue with the lobbying campaign and keep the pressure on.
Tony
ReplyReply allForward———- Forwarded message ———
From: Tony Collins <tonycollins6952@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 1, 2021 at 11:40 AM
Subject: Re: Retired Workers Rights Bill
To: Micheál Martin’s Office <mmartin.constituency@taoiseach.gov.ie>, Micheál Martin <micheal@michealmartin.ie>

Dear Micheal,

Thank you for your response to my email.

I have written to you on several occasions since you became Taoiseach, and this is the first response that I have received from you. I was part of a delegation that met with you and some of your party colleagues in your office at Leinster House in December 2019.

 At that meeting, we discussed the range of possibilities on how pensioners could achieve a proper voice and representation/arbitration. At your suggestion it was agreed that the setting up of a separate division of the Labour Court/Workplace Relations Commission, specifically for pensioners, would be the best option for their grievances to be heard and arbitrated on.

I wrote to you personally, in the hope and expectation that you would honour your commitment made at that meeting in December 2019.

 Brid Smith, her PBP colleagues and the representatives of the hundreds of thousands of retired workers who were outside Leinster House on Tuesday 29th June believe that the committee stage and detailed scrutiny processes are the forums that can be used to undertake the consultation process and hear the views of the interested parties mentioned in the Government amendment. Given the likely time frame these processes would take, it allows more than enough time for extensive consultation to be taken if that is the concern.

I listened to yesterday’s debate on the (Industrial Relations Provisions in Respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers Bill 2021which was presented to the Dail by Brid Smith of People Before Profit.

The Government spokesperson, Minister Damien English, attempted to sidestep the whole issue by introducing an amendment to the Bill which would defer the second reading of the Bill for 12 months, to allow for a consultation process with relevant Ministers, Employers, Trade Unions with absolutely no mention of Retired Workers, the very people whose rights the Bill is intended to protect.

This is an insult to all parties who have campaigned for more than 10 years for the rights and protection of retired workers and to all former workers who have worked for most of their lives in building this country, who are now advanced in years, and don’t have the time to wait another 12 months. There has been more than enough time for all the parties mentioned in Government’s amendment to engage in a consultation process as this issue has been around for more than 10 years.

Previous Governments have lacked the political will to initiate change and introduce proper legal protection for pensioners and give them representation rights that they have earned throughout their working lives.

Brid Smith and her colleagues in People Before Profit have listened to former workers and have acknowledged their right to defend their pension rights once they retire and to be consulted on any changes that may affect their Pension Schemes and their future financial security.

Again, I appeal to you, and the Government, to reconsider your positions and engage with PBP in a process at committee stage that will examine and scrutinise the proposed legislation. It is a basic right that retired workers and their representative organisations are at the table and recognised when their hard-won pensions are being discussed.

This is an equality issue and any attempts to deny Retired Workers the same rights as workers are discriminatory and unjust. There should be “NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US”.

Retired Workers have not gone away and will be back with a vengeance should this Bill fail to progress to committee stage.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Collins,

National Executive Chairman

ESB Retired Staff Association

119 Elton Court, Leixlip, Co. Kildare, W23 Y4E4

Phone            086 8197083          Email               tonycollins6952@gmail.comOn Thu, Jul 1, 2021 at 9:39 AM Micheál Martin’s Office <mmartin.constituency@taoiseach.gov.ie> wrote:

Dear Tony,

Many thanks for your email and for taking the time to write to me.

The Government have agreed to put forward a 12 month timed amendment to Deputy Brid Smith’s Bill – Industrial Relations (Provisions in respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers) Bill 2021-  to allow for consultation between the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Minister for Social Protection and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, with unions and employers and the Industrial Relations bodies. This will allow space and time for a full discussion and exploration of legal and technical issues that may arise as a result of the proposals and to consider other options for change which might be available, and which would make it more suitable for collective bargaining.  

I recognise that this is a long-running issue for you and members of your association but I want to take this opportunity to assure you that the Government genuinely wants to examine the issue and engage on it with parties from across the sector, including engaging with affected retired workers. It is imperative that as a Government we interrogate this complex mater carefully and tease out its implications. This work will be led by the aforementioned Ministers.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Micheál Martin T.D.

Taoiseach

Department of the Taoiseach | Upper Merrion Street | Dublin 2 | Ireland | D02 R583

Roinn an Taoisigh | Sráid Mhuirfeán Uachtarach | Baile Átha Cliath 2 | Éire | D02 R583

Designated Public Official under Regulation of Lobbying Act, 2015,  www.lobbying.ie

Oifigeach Poiblí Sainithe faoin Acht um Brústocaireacht a Rialáil 2015.

UPDATE 29th June, 2021

After 12 Years of Frozen Pensions Government kicks the can down the road for ANOTHER year !

Photos Thanks to Michael Hughes

See email from Brid Smith’s office with Government response to her Bill. It’s ironic that there’s no mention of retired workers in their response. They also talk about collective bargaining, an option currently not available to retired workers. I’m glad to see that PBP are  going to test the waters and seek a vote on the Bill. 

Tony Collins Chairman ESBRSA National Executive Committee

We just got this from the Government.

Its an amendment to the bill.

Technically it means they are not opposing the bill but want to delay its progress for 12 months to undertake this consultation process.

Its worth noting that the one group they seemed to have forgot to mention in terms of future consultation are retired workers!

In one sense this is a victory of sorts but in another way its very frustrating as there are no guarantees on the outcome of the consultation process so we will have to keep pushing them .

We will be calling a vote on the bill regardless of the amendment and it will be interesting to see what support the bill gets to progress immediately.

DÁIL ÉIREANN
GNÓ COMHALTAÍ PRÍOBHÁIDEACHA
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS
Fógra i dtaobh Leasú ar an Tairiscint don Dara Céim: Notice of Amendment to Second Stage
Motion
An Bille Caidrimh Thionscail (Forálacha i leith Teidlíochtaí Pinsin Oibrithe Scortha), 2021 —
An Dara Céim.
Industrial Relations (Provisions in Respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers) Bill
2021 — Second Stage.
—Bríd Smith, Gino Kenny, Richard Boyd Barrett, Paul Murphy.
Leasú ar an Tairiscint don Dara Léamh:
Amendment to Motion for Second Reading:

  1. To delete all words after “That” and substitute the following:
    “Dáil Éireann acknowledges and resolves that the Industrial Relations (Provisions in Respect of
    Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers) Bill 2021 be deemed to be read a second time this
    day 12 months, to allow for consultation between the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and
    Employment, the Minister for Social Protection and the Minister for Public Expenditure and
    Reform, with unions and employers and the Industrial Relations bodies, which will allow for
    full discussion and exploration of legal and technical issues that may arise, such as increased
    business costs and business viability, as a result of the proposals and to consider other options
    for change which might be available, and which would make it more suitable for collective
    bargaining.” —An tAire Fiontar, Trádála agus Fostaíochta.
    [29 June, 2021]

Leo Varadkar is Tanaiste and The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Leo Varadkar is Tanaiste agus An tAire Fiontar, Trádála agus Fostaíochta.

UPDATE 28th June, 2021

The link below is to an Irish Times article by Mark Hilliard which was published on 27th June 2021.

Please note that the demonstration in support of the Bill will take place on Tuesday 29th June2021 at Leinster House, Kildare St, Dublin 2 between 12 and 1pm

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/proposed-law-to-give-retirees-a-say-in-pension-disputes-to-be-debated-in-the-d%C3%A1il-1.4605121

UPDATE 24th June, 2021

Attention All ESB Pensioners

The Industrial Relations Provisions in Respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers Bill 2021 will be debated at 10am on Wednesday 30th in the Dail,

 A vote should take place either that evening or the following Wednesday.

We ask all members to email/write to the TDs in their constituency asking them to support the Bill.

If you have already done so, a big Thank You and please send a reminder before Tuesday 29th June 29th 2021.

 If you have yet to contact your TDs please do so now.

 We need to make TDs aware that a large number of Semi State retired Workers have no means of accessing the WRC or any other forum to address their issues regarding their pensions.

The message is ………..”Retired Workers are NOT Retired Voters”

A representative group of members of Semi State Retired Workers will stage a socially distanced demonstration at the gates of Dáil Éireann, Kildare St. on 29th. June between 12:00 and 13:00 to raise awareness among TDs of our support for the Bill.

A format letter below could be adapted by members and their families to send to TDs.

Dear……….,
I am writing to seek your support for the “Industrial Relations Provisions in respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers Bill 2021”, which is due to come before the Dáil on Wednesday 30th June 2021.
Many retired staff receive their pensions from “Occupational Schemes”, established by their former employers. Central to these schemes are pension funds, to which pensioners (as former workers) and their employers contribute and from which pensions are paid.
However, once they have left their jobs, occupational pensioners find that changes which affect pension benefits can be made with little notice or consultation with them. Decisions which affect pension benefits are sometimes influenced by management/union negotiations, from which pensioners are excluded.
The proposed Bill would give pensioners a greater say in how pension benefits are determined. Crucially, it would allow pensioners recourse to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) for a ruling, a right which workers currently enjoy.
The Bill would help to restore balance between former and existing workers rights, where pension benefits are concerned and introduce a more level playing field in negotiations which affect pensions.
I believe that society as a whole would benefit from having a fairer system of determining pension entitlements and I urge you to support the proposed Bill.
Yours sincerely
……………………………….
Best Wishes

UPDATE 4th June, 2021

Attention All ESB Pensioners

ESB has been a successful and profitable company over the last 10 years and more, with operating profits averaging €533 million per annum in that period. However, during this successful period ESB has consistently discriminated against you as pensioners, denying you a pension increase, pro-rata representation on the governing bodies of ESB Pension Scheme, and have ignored your right to representation in discussions that would affect your future financial security. You have been denied voting rights on issues affecting you as pensioners, and ESB has ignored the fact that pensioners represent 71% of the total Pension Scheme membership.

ESBRSA has been campaigning for Representation & Arbitration rights for retired workers for more than a decade or so, correspondence with successive Governments that has fallen of deaf ears. Governments that have lacked the political will to initiate change and introduce proper legal protection for pensioners and give them representation rights that they have earned throughout their working lives.

Brid Smith and her colleagues in People Before Profit have listened to former workers and have acknowledged their right to defend their pension rights once they retire and to be consulted on any changes that may affect their Pension Schemes and their future financial security. ESBRSA would like to commend Brid and her colleagues for the major efforts that they have made in bringing forward legislation in the form of this Bill, (Industrial Relations Provisions in Respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers Bill 2021) which will be debated in the Dail on either 30th June or 6th July.

This Bill needs your support and the support of your local TD’s.

ESBRSA urges all ESB Pensioners to use the document below, send it to your TD’s in your own constituencies asking them for their support for this Bill when Brid Smith brings it before the Dail and to vote in favour of passing this Bill into legislation

Give retired workers a voice; Give them the right to be represented on their pension schemes.

Five reasons you should support the Right to Representation for retired workers.

1. The Bill (Industrial Relations Provisions in Respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers Bill 2021) will be debated in the Dail in early July when it is introduced by Brid Smith of People before Profit. It gives a voice to retired workers over what happens to their occupational pension schemes after they have left their employment. At present, thousands of workers who have worked for decades in a company or a semi state find that once they have left their job, any changes that impact their pension schemes can happen with little notice or consultation with them. This Bill will change that.

2. The Bill will give retired workers and their representative associations the right to go to the WRC when their occupational schemes are affected or there are proposed changes that could affect their benefits. At present, if these changes happen more than six months after a worker has retired they have no rights to access the WRC ; This Bill will change that.

3. The Bill will give rights to retired workers associations to be consulted when talks between trade unions and employers may have direct effects on their occupational pension schemes. At present, retired workers are not consulted in industrial relations disputes that may have an impact on their pensions ; This Bill will change that.

4. This Bill will ensure that one position was reserved for retired pensioner members who were standing for elected positions on trustee boards in some circumstances. Retired workers can often struggle to have their voice heard on their scheme’s Trustee Board; no positions are currently reserved for retired members; This Bill will change that.

5. Retired workers and their associations cannot currently access the WRC, because of the definition of a trade dispute in legislation, this means even where substantial cuts or changes have happened to their pensions, retired workers have no effective forum to seek redress or demand consultation. This Bill will change that.

Retired workers have endured a decade of attacks on their pensions, and all workers are facing further attacks on the very idea of a decent pension when they retire. The right to retire at 66 itself is constantly under pressure from Governments and employers. We believe that pensions are deferred wages, hard won by long struggle of workers and their trade unions in many cases. However, deals between companies and trade unions can result in significant and long-lasting changes to retired workers pension entitlements. Yet, those workers who have often paid into schemes for decades and been active trade union members have no say in those deals and are not even consulted in advance.

This Bill will change that and correct a deep injustice done to all retired workers.

This Retired Workers Rights bill will challenge that and ensure that retired workers and their representative organisations are at the table and recognised when their hard-won pensions are being discussed.

“Nothing about us Without us” is the catch cry of many social movements and so it is with retired workers who are asking that you support their right to be represented and able to defend their pensions after they have retired.

Please lend your support to the Bill

UPDATE 9th May, 2021

With regret we inform you of the death of our former colleague Martin Gibbons of Parknahown, Cullohill, Co Laois. Martin worked in Generation before moving to Portlaoise district as Transmission Engineer. Martin died on 8th May and his funeral is on Monday 10th at 1:00 pm. See RIP.ie for details

RIP.ie notice for Martin Gibbons

 

UPDATE 15th January, 2021

We have been advised by Bríd Smith TD PBP that she will be introducing a proposed bill entitled  Industrial relations amendment (Provisions in Respect Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers) Bill 2020 the Dail.

Briefly the bill aims to give greater representative rights for retired workers and their representative organizations when it comes to issues around their occupational pension schemes. It does this by changing certain clauses in the Industrial Relations act to expand the time period in which retired workers can take a case to the WRC for example and by changing the definition of trade dispute, strike and by adding organizations representing retired persons to other clauses in order to expand their rights.

The links below will bring you to pdf files of an explanatory memo and the Bill.

http://www.esbrsa.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/final-pension-explanmemo.pdf

http://www.esbrsa.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/final-pensioners-bill.pdf

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