Date Released: 17 July 2013
Speaking at a rally on Wednesday (17th July) outside the Dáil in support of former Waterford Crystal workers, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said it was scandalous that, over two-and-a-half months after the European Court of Justice ruled that the state had a duty to protect the workers’ pension entitlements, there has been no movement from the Government.
Citing the Permenant TSB case, Mr Kelly also said that the Waterford case was just one instance of workers being denied the pension entitlements for which they had paid.
“Over two-and-a-half months have now elapsed since the European Court of Justice ruled that the State is in breach of its obligations under the terms of the EU Directive to protect the pension entitlements of former Waterford Crystal workers. Since then, there has been no move by the Government: instead, the matter continues to wind its way through the court system, causing further distress and uncertainty for the workers concerned.
“From Waterford Crystal via Permanent TSB to the ESB, there is a common thread running through the Irish pensions story, workers cannot rely on their hard won pension entitlements at the end of their working lives. In the case of Waterford Crystal, prior to the ECJ ruling, workers were facing the prospect of receiving just a fraction of their entitlements, while in the PTSB long-serving frontline staff may find their pensions cut by 60 per cent according to a proposal advanced by management.
“ESB workers are also being forced to take legal action to protect their pensions following a decision to pay a special dividend to the Government while the company’s pension fund faces a staggering €1.6 billion shortfall.
“In the short term, the Government must follow through on the ECJ ruling and make a proposal to the workers, rather than leaving the matter to go through the courts. In the medium term, the State must act now to protect the pensions of all workers”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.