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'You have brought this industrial relations crisis' - ESB unions blame bosses

Unions have said that they will serve notice of industrial action from tomorrow which could lead to strike action from 16 December.

ESB Group of Unions general secretary Brendan Ogle arriving at ESB HQ this afternoon.
ESB Group of Unions general secretary Brendan Ogle arriving at ESB HQ this afternoon.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

UNIONS AT ESB have put the blame for the pension dispute at the company squarely on management as both sides met in Dublin today.

In a statement of their position directed at management, the ESB Group of Unions say that the current chief executive is not living up to the commitments made by his predecessor to “not, in any way, dilute ESB’s commitment to the pension scheme”.

“You, the most senior and highly paid management in ESB, have brought this once well managed company to an unprecedented industrial relations crisis,” the ESB GoU pointedly say.

Unions have said that they will serve notice of industrial action from tomorrow which could lead to strike action from 16 December.

The dispute centres on a 2010 pension agreement which unions say has been breached to put a staff at a greater risk of losing out if there is a shortfall. The unions say there is a €1.6 billion deficit in the scheme.

The ESB GoU issued a directed attack on three primary executives within the ESB saying that they “have hidden away from accountability and scrutiny”.

The unions have also said that Government ministers who have been speaking about the dispute are “just wrong” in their view that the pension scheme is “on track”. They cite ministers Joan Burton, Leo Varadkar, Pat Rabbittee and Taoiseach Enda Kenny who have made similar assurances about the health of the pension scheme.

They say tha the Government are “the effective owners of ESB and that if they believe that there is “no risk” to the scheme than the company should have no problem in altering the terms the fund so that the company carries the risk.

Doing so they say would “resolve this dispute before notice of action is even issued”.

Read: ESB employees and management in talks to resolve pensions row >

Read: ESB union will serve notice of industrial action on Friday >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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