Deferred members of Aer Lingus pension must be protected from cut – Ellis
Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has
said today that the 1500 members of Aer Lingus's deferred pension scheme must
be protected from planned cuts before spending the proceeds of the sale of the
state’s stake in the company. He said the workers who had been told their
pensions were secure now faced as much as a 60% cut in their entitlements and
had been betrayed by the company and the state.
Deputy Ellis continued;
“Sinn Féin completely opposed the selloff of the state’s stake in the strategically important Aer Lingus. We fear for the loss of connectivity the state will suffer in 7 years when Heathrow slots are subsumed into the new owners IAG who operate on a global scale with their shareholders being their only concern. Unfortunately, the State’s stake is to be sold by the government and we must deal with the reality of this.
“Just over €335 million has been raised from the sale and the government are intent on using this money to further buy the electorate in advance of an election in Spring 2016. It is obscene that, while 1500 workers face a 60% cut in their pension entitlements, we are expected to divide the spoils of this sale.
“The applause by the government is not enough to distract from the continuing unjust treatment of the deferred members of the Aer Lingus pension scheme. They have had no resolution, no hope, and no recognition even in this whole situation.
“The Minister is well of aware of this issue having met with representatives of the 1,500 deferred pensioners who had received letters of comfort from Aer Lingus. After great service they were told their pensions and entitlements were secured only to be betrayed. Their pensions have been halved and this has been underpinned by legislation penned by this government in the State Airports Act.
“These workers deserve better than this treatment, better than this government. This matter is unresolved, this unjust treatment goes on while the government schedules for use to plan the distribution of the spoils of the betrayal of these workers and Ireland’s strategic interests in Aer Lingus.
“Resolution of this issue should be a priority for government in its final months.”