ESB Union leader confident of no Christmas blackouts
The secretary of the ESB Group of Unions has assured the public that the potential strike action proposed by the company will not lead to Christmas blackouts throughout the country but that the precise timing of any power cuts to homes and businesses has yet to be decided.
Government departments are planning to meet with the ESB tomorrow in order to prevent any action from them. The company’s unions and trustees of the pension fund are currently locked in the centre of a heated dispute that as it stands will see a notice of industrial action served on Friday.
ESB workers are looking to resolve a €1.7 billion deficit in their pension fund. The union’s claims are that the schemes solvency is based on the minimum funding standard that calculates a specific benefit pension fund’s assets and liabilities should it ever be wound up.They are arguing that the company has changed the scheme from defined benefit to defined contribution back in 2011 contradicting a previous arrangement reached in 2010 which distances the company from future liabilities.
The secretary of the ESB Group of Unions Brendan Ogle maintains that any strike action will not disrupt power supplies of the Christmas period saying that there was no appetite among workers to turn off power lines “I have said several times that there will not be power outages over Christmas so why there are drawings of me in the papers pulling out the Christmas lights, I don’t know.”
Any striking action that resulted in power cuts throughout the country would no doubt have a disastrous effect on Irish businesses and the economy. If the ESB are to strike, the notice of industrial action served on Friday will carry a mandate for action from December 16th.