INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr Rorke
1. Access to pension scheme.
2. The worker concerned commenced employment with Bord Failte on the 18th of March, 1985 and joined the Board's coordinated pension scheme with effect from that date. Prior to his employment with Bord Failte the worker had been employed by Aer Lingus since 1961. He joined the Aer Lingus uncoordinated pension scheme on reaching 20 years of age on the 17th of October, 1963.
The dispute concerns the worker's claim for access to the Bord Failte uncoordinated pension scheme. He argues that the implications of joining the Bord's coordinated pension scheme were not explained to him and in the circumstances he assumed that his full pension entitlements would be carried over from one semi-state pension scheme to another. The worker first raised the issue with management in the late 1980's and the matter was the subject of an appeal under the rules of the pension scheme to the Minister for Finance.
The worker referred the dispute to the Labour Court on the 13th of September, 1999, under Section 20 (1) of the Industrial Relations Acts, 1969. The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. An invitation to attend a Rights Commissioner's hearing was declined by Bord Failte.
3. 1. The full implications of joining the Bord Failte coordinated pension scheme were not explained to the worker. He was not informed that he would lose all of his accumulated uncoordinated benefits. He assumed that his full pension rights would be carried over from one semi-state pension scheme to another.
2. A person who joined Bord Failte in 1988 and who previously had been employed by Aer Lingus, and a member of its uncoordinated pension scheme received preferential treatment because of his rank. He was allowed retain all his pension rights.
3. Staff who have resigned from Bord Failte and from its uncoordinated pension scheme to join a Regional Tourism Authority and who subsequently rejoined Bord Failte were/are allowed to rejoin the Bord Failte uncoordinated pension scheme. Bord Failte and the Regional Tourism Authorities are separate companies and have their own pension scheme.
4. The worker has lost 21.5 years of uncoordinated contributions and was unable to avail of the Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme in early 1995 because the problem with his pension was unresolved.
5. Government Departments have consistently given the worker the run around and/or stonewalled his investigations/requests.
6. The worker is seeking access to the Bord's uncoordinated pension scheme in the interest of fairness and equality and has offered to repay the difference between the two schemes over a period of time. Bord Failte has not applied the principles of equity, fairness and natural justice uniformly as per the staff manual.
4. 1. The worker commenced employment with Bord Failte on the 18th of March, 1985. His contract of employment which he signed on the 31st of January, 1985, states that "superannuation and spouses' and children's pension deductions would be made at a rate appropriate for co-ordination of Social Welfare and superannuation benefits".
2. All Head Office permanent employees of Bord Failte recruited after the 1st of January, 1978, had to become members of the coordinated scheme and pay a contribution of 5% of salary.
3. The worker requested special treatment over staff recruited after the 1st of January, 1978, on two occasions, in 1987 and 1992. He was refused these requests to pay a higher uncoordinated contribution. In accordance with the rules of the pension scheme, his appeal was referred to the Minister for Finance for a determination. After this determination he still had the option to preserve his uncoordinated pension with Aer Lingus. In April, 1995 he opted to transfer his service into the Bord Failte coordinated pension scheme.
4. In support of his claim the worker has argued that this case is the same as a former Director-General of Bord Failte, who was appointed by the Government as Chairman and Chief Executive of Bord Failte in 1988. At the time of his appointment the person in question had 35.5 years' service in various semi-state companies, all based on uncoordinated contributions. The specific terms of his contract of employment provided for continuity of superannuation arrangements.
5. The worker has been treated fairly and has received his entitlements in accordance with the rules of the scheme.
The Court has given serious consideration to the oral and written submission of both parties. Having examined all the facts the Court has come to the conclusion that the Company acted strictly in accordance with the rules of its pension scheme. Therefore, the Court does not consider that there is any basis for concession of the claim.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
26th October, 1999.______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.