While Michael Noonan’s austerity levies on occupational pension schemes made headlines, little has been reported about the permanent pay cuts inflicted on thousands of pensioners in the commercial semi-state sector. These cuts were triggered by deals negotiated between semi-state employers and trade unions. Overnight in 2014, over 3,000 defined benefit pensioners at Aer Lingus and Dublin and Shannon airports lost between 12% and 20% of their income. Meanwhile, some 9,000 of their counterparts from in the ESB pension scheme saw 12% slashed from their pensions over a decade after the unions agreed to terminate the traditional parity between wage and pension increases.

Industrial relations law excludes pensioners’ representative associations from negotiations affecting the vital interests of pensioners. To overturn this ban, RTÉRSA and six other associations affiliated with the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament (ISCP) lobbied TD’s and Senators. In 2021, Bríd Smith TD , tabled a Private Member’s Bill to end the unjust exclusion.  Last year, all opposition parties supported her Bill at the Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise and Employment. But the government continues to oppose it.

Candidates and canvassers are approaching voters in advance of the June 7th European and Local Elections. And a general election is due within a year. This is your opportunity to urge representatives of the parties in the current government to support the Smith Bill. 

Better still, why not join RTÉRSA members and pensioners from our six sister associations in the ISCP who are jointly organizing a meeting at the UNITE headquarters on Middle Abbey Street  at 11 am on Tuesday, the 28th May 2024.  Don’t forget that we at the RTÉRSA have already repulsed efforts by RTÉ and the government to saddle “our” Superannuation Scheme with a charge calculated by the government’s advisers, NewERA, to amount to  over €30 million, in order to help ease RTÉ’s financial crisis. 

As reported here this Spring, your committee’s intensive lobbying of Minister Paschal Donohue overturned RTÉ’s and Media Minister, Catherine Martin’s efforts to saddle our 1,100 members with this multi-million euro bill for administering our Superannuation Scheme. (To date, administration costs have always been paid by employers in Ireland.) 

But, there’s a catch!  The senior official who has been fielding our letters of protest to Minster Martin wrote to our Chair, Stephanie Fitzpatrick, that the department’s efforts to gift RTÉ millions from our superannuation fund had only been abandoned “for the time being”

Watch this space! 

Better still, come to the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament gathering on at the UNITE headquarters on Middle Abbey Street  at 11 am on Tuesday, the 28th May!