Question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Mr Paschal Donohoe, TD)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport regarding the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme, if he will confirm if the expert panel specifically considered the interests of deferred members, both shorter service and long service members; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 3rd December, 2014.
The Expert Panel was established by my Department, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, IBEC and ICTU to find a solution to the industrial relations issues relating to the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS). It was tasked with finding the fairest way to distribute the burden of resolving the current deficit in the scheme, while addressing a range of other impediments.
The Panel engaged extensively with all the parties involved during its investigations and although it was not within the remit of the panel to address the issues concerning the deferred members of the scheme, the Panel met with representatives of the deferred members committee on two occasions. The Panel explained to the deferred representatives that the process it was involved in was an industrial relations process and that responsibility for dealing with the deferred members rested with the IASS Trustee through engagement with employers.
In its Report , published on 16 June 2014, the Panel recommended, inter alia, that the IASS Trustee engage with the employers on ways to alleviate as much of the impact of the Trustee proposals as possible whilst also recognising the overall affordability to the employers of the proposals for active and deferred members. It was the Panel’s view that these discussions should be informed by a set of principles which the Panel had discussed and agreed with the employers and communicated to the Trustee.
As a result of that Report, there was an uplift in the monies to be provided by the employers outside of the IASS, a significant proportion of which is intended for the deferred members to make a contribution towards mitigating the benefit cuts proposed by the IASS Trustee. This is an essential consequence of the process proposed by the Expert Panel.
Specifically, almost €20m in extra funding is being proposed by the employers in addition to the €40m already being made available for deferred members. The total contribution proposed by the employers aimed at resolving the IASS difficulties amounts to over €260m.
It is the Panel’s definitive view that the proposed measures represent the best possible outcome that can be achieved and that if this final opportunity to resolve this very protracted problem is not grasped now, the situation facing members of the IASS will deteriorate further.