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ESB hits out at 'inaccuracies' in reports about pension scheme

Reports over the last couple of days suggested the company had changed the nature of the scheme and failed to tell its auditor KPMG about opposition to the changes from unions.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE ESB HAS said that recent reports about changes to its pension scheme contained “inaccuracies”.

This follows details revealed on RTÉ’s This Week from emails between senior managers at the company about an agreement reached between unions and the ESB to address the €2 billion deficit in the scheme.

After this agreement, the ESB changed its accounting treatment of the pension scheme, and reports said this changed the scheme from a defined benefit to a defined contribution scheme.

Hoever the company said today this was incorrect and that the change in accounting “did not change the nature of the scheme”.

The emails obtained by RTÉ also appeared to suggest that the unions disagreed with the ESB on the change and that the company had not informed its auditors, KPMG, of the disagreement.

In a statement today ESB said:

ESB did not seek the agreement of the ESB Group of Unions to the change in accounting treatment, nor did ESB or the company’s auditors require the ESB Group of Unions to agree to the change in accounting treatment. Furthermore, agreement of the ESB Group of Unions is not a pre-requisite to the accounting treatment of the scheme today.

ESB also said that reports that the change in accounting treatment shifted the contingent liabilities of the scheme from the company to the employees are “wholly incorrect and misleading”.

Workers at ESB are due to ballot for industrial action on 18 November over concerns about the shortfall in the scheme.

Read: Union chief: ‘ESB are refusing to engage in discussions’>

Read: ESB to develop energy efficient headquarters on Fitzwilliam Street>

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