I hope all is well with everyone.
We’d like to give you an update on the issues we’ve been involved with on the RTÉRSA committee.
- Demand for pension increase.
First and foremost on our agenda is the issue of ensuring we get our pension increase, following the recent pay increase awarded to RTÉ staff. We’ve requested a meeting with the RTÉSA Trustees and representatives of the RTÉRSA (RTÉ Retired Staff Association) committee.
We received a reply from the Chair saying that the Trustees would revert to us shortly on this request.
Here are some quotes from our letter to the new (interim) chair of the Trustees, Ms. Paula Mullooly – (FYI the full letter is here)
‘… increases granted to RTÉ staff and to all Public Servants in the recent pay agreement “Building Momentum” should also be granted to members of the RTÉ Superannuation Scheme’.
• Historically wage round increases paid to RTÉ staff were applied to pensioners in the superannuation scheme
• There are a myriad of examples of this throughout the 1980, 1990s and in the 2000s up to 2008 after which there were no salary increases paid to staff (other than pay restoration) until the recent agreement referenced above.
• The rules of the superannuation scheme make provision for such payments to be paid to pensioners.
The RTÉ Superannuation Scheme has never failed to implement such wage round increases in the past. The policy of the Scheme Trustees has always been to protect the members against the erosion of the real value of pensions by inflation. Additionally, members have been assured that pensions would be aligned with salary increases in RTÉ.’
- FYI – Changes to Board of Trustees
RTESA Chair (Interim) – Ms Paula Mullooly – (also Director of Legal, RTE)
Independent Trustee -Mr Jim Foley, Managing Director, Trustee Decisions https://www.trusteedecisions.com/
Mr Conor Hayes is no longer a member of the board.
- Administration Costs/Submission to the Pensions Authority
In January 2020 the Board of RTÉ at the request of RTÉ’s Chief Financial Officer, who was also a trustee of the pension scheme, agreed to ask the Government to change the regulations of the scheme in order to help RTÉ deal with its own financial difficulties.
RTÉ sought, by virtue of a proposed regulation change, to transfer the administration costs of the scheme from the employer to the trust at a cost of €40 million over the lifetime of the scheme, and thereby eliminating completely the buffer in the scheme assets, to enable it to pay the cost of living increases of 2½% per annum as recommended by the actuary and the scheme trustees.
At the 2022 AGM of the RTÉ Retired Staff Association (RTÉRSA) there was universal opposition to this proposal to use pensioners lifetime pension savings to bail out RTÉ’s financial difficulties. Some 300 of our members wrote to the Trustees opposing this measure. Given the clear objection of the RTÉRSA membership to RTÉ’s proposal to the transfer of core administration and operational expenses to the Superannuation fund, the RTÉRSA requested that the Trustees respect their objections and act in the best interests of the scheme members.
While the government refused the RTÉ request…… RTÉ have now appealed this.
This story was covered by Mr Barry O Halloran. Irish Times in late January of this year –
In early March, we made a decision to make a (40 page) submission to the Pensions Authority,
We requested that the Pension Authority review the correspondence we provided to ‘establish if the proposal to use the assets of the RTÉ Defined Benefit Scheme to bail out the employers’ financial difficulties is unreasonable and disproportionate.’
The Pensions Authority replied saying that this is a matter between the employer and the Government, that the ‘Pensions Authority has no role to play and cannot give you an opinion on the employer’s proposal’. While it is useful to have this issue fully documented with a public body, this further highlights the need for giving pensioners a voice as discussed in item 4 below.
We copied a number of people on this letter to the Pensions Authority.
• Ms Siún Ní Raghallaigh, RTÉ Chair.
• Trustees of the RTÉSA,
• Ms Catherine Martin, TD. Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Ms Siún Ní Raghallaigh, replied – see letter here.
- Your letters to politicians and the Industrial Relations (Provisions in Respect of Pension Entitlements of Retired Workers) Bill 2021
Firstly, our thanks to everyone who sent letters to their politicians about the above bill. When I attended the Joint Oireachtas Committee hearing that was held on January 25th, a number of politicians mentioned how frequently they heard from their constituents about this bill – there’s no doubt that your letters helped to raise awareness of this bill.
I attach a video of proceedings
We are continuing to work with the grouping of retired semi state groups and Brid Smith’s office on this issue.
We also intend affiliating with the Collective Network under the banner of the ISCP (Irish Senior Citizens Parliament). This network’s single focus is to ‘to ensure the proposed Bill was actively supported the DAIL process’
- AGM 2023 – September 26th- Venue/Time TBC