Letter to the new (interim) chair of the Trustees, Ms. Paula Mullooly

Ms Paula Mullooly
Chair of the Trustees
Email – Paula.Mullooly@rte.ie

30th March 2023

Dear Paula,

I hope all is well with you.

I’m writing to request a meeting with the RTÉSA Trustees and representatives of the RTÉRSA (RTÉ Retired Staff Association) committee.

The two main items we would like to discuss are as follows:

Firstly, the RTÉRSA are requesting a pension increase to mirror the recent agreements with the RTÉ TUG and the Public Service Agreement “Building Momentum” 2022.

Historical background to RTÉRSA request for increase.

• 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.

Identical Quotes from

  1. RTE Superannuation Scheme Explanatory Booklet 1979
  2. RTE Superannuation Scheme “Your Questions Answered” 1993 “In practice, the increases heretofore granted have been on a parity basis, i.e., on revised “retiring salaries” in line with salary increases in RTÉ”

Several hundreds of scheme members were incentivised by RTÉ to avail of early retirement schemes in the early 2000’s and their contractual letter of offer stated that past practice would continue. Letters of offer stated

“you will receive a pension of xx gross for life and linked to general wage changes….”

In addition, in a recent letter (23rd March ‘23) to the RTÉRSA, Ms Siún Ní Raghallaigh, RTÉ Chair, noted the following:

“RTÉ is very conscious of the fact that pensioners have only received one increase since 2008. It has, at every stage, supported the requests for increases, and continues to support and advocate for regular increases for pensioners of the Scheme. The Board understands that RTÉ and the Trustees are working with DPER towards this end.”

RTÉ and the Trade Union Group (TUG) were assisted by the RTÉ Industrial Relations Tribunal (IRT) in discussions on the matter of pay and the TUG pay claim of 9.5% in 2022. The agreement reached in January ’23 granted an increase that sought ‘to be responsive…… to the impact of substantial cost of living increases on RTÉ staff and their families’

Members of the RTÉSA and their families are similarly impacted by the substantial cost of living increases.

We now request that 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.

We note that the scheme Actuary recorded a surplus in the Ongoing Valuation of 458M. Euros a funding level of 162%. This was after a provision for pension increases of 2.5% in January 2022 and 2.5% in January 2023.

Salary Increases:

3.39 In the target funding valuation, we have reflected and expectation that future salary increases will, in the long term, exceed the anticipated rate of price inflation by adopting a salary rate increase assumption of 2.5% per annum (2.0% in 2021)

Secondly, given recent media coverage about EU IORP II, and the far-reaching implications it will have for the pensions landscape in Ireland, our members have expressed concern about the implications this may have for future of the RTÉSA scheme. “The introduction of the IORP II directive is bringing the biggest change we have seen in the occupational pensions landscape in Ireland for a generation,” according to Caitríona MacGuinness, partner and DC and master trust market leader at Mercer. We would very much appreciate hearing the perspective of the Trustees into how they see the future of the RTÉSA unfolding in this context.

I request that this letter be provided to all the trustees of the RTÉSA.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards

Stephanie Fitzpatrick