We have had a number of meetings with Mathesons in regard to legacy issues about which your Committee sought the best legal advice. This has now been completed after a number of meetings with all available documentation supplied. Matheson’s first final report stated their was no case to answer. Two Committee members were unhappy with this and asked to submit further material including the “missing” SIB 890. The legal opinion resulting from this further submission is conclusive. As a result the RTERSA Committee has decided to ask members to cease all further contributions to our legal fund. We have decided that it is in members’ best interests that we retain the remaining fund for possible future requirements. The Committee have agreed that our efforts from now on should be devoted to the all important political battle (I use the word advisedly) to achieve proper legal status for retired people and their elected representatives. In this we join with the wider grouping of the Semi State Retired Staff Associations.
Tony O’Connor. Chair
6 Analysis from Mathesons.
- 6.1 There is a suggestion in some of the documentation furnished that the award of Increases ceased after the implementation of the Transformation Agreement in 2002. There is also a suggestion that RTÉ with the trade unions acted unilaterally (ie without member communication) and unfairly in causing the loss of Increases for retired members of the Scheme. Furthermore, it is suggested that RTÉ is in breach of its promise to provide index- linked benefits to some retired members as per the letter referenced above.
- 6.2 With respect to the Transformation Agreement, in circumstances where Increases were granted to retired members of the Scheme until 2008 it is not entirely clear to me how the implementation of the Transformation Agreement caused Increases to cease. In addition, while I have not reviewed the Transformation Agreement, I understand it was separate to wage agreements and that RTÉ was not required to award an Increase to retired staff under this agreement. Therefore, in my view retired staff do not have a legal basis to ground a cause of action against RTÉ for awarding a pension increase under the Transformation Agreement which was lower than the average salary increase awarded thereunder.
- 6.3 Based on the facts as presented, the suggestion that RTÉ with the trade unions acted unilaterally and unfairly in causing the loss of Increases for retired members of the Scheme also seems to be unfounded as is the suggestion that RTÉ is in breach of its promise to provide index-linked benefits to some retired members as per the letter referenced above.
- 6.4 Increases are not guaranteed under the Scheme, therefore RTÉ was not and is not legally required to provide or fund for Increases under the Scheme. However, separate to the Scheme, RTÉ stated in a letter to retiring staff that it would provide benefits index-linked to wage agreements. It seems to me that this promise was honoured by RTÉ, in that for as long as pay and pension increases were provided for under wage agreements, these were awarded by RTÉ to both staff and retired staff.
- 6.5 On the basis of this analysis, I do not see how retired staff have any grievance against RTÉ in respect of the payment of Increases. I also do not see grounds upon which a breach of contract claim could be made against RTÉ in circumstances where the ‘promise’ as set out inthe letter was honoured by RTÉ. Furthermore, to date retired staff cannot show any loss as a result of the actions of RTÉ in this regard.
This a summary of a much larger report.