Belfast Telegraph

More than 1,000 Irish Life staff in second walkout over new pay model

Trade union leaders have accused one of Ireland's biggest pension companies of breaking the link between pay and profits.

The claim was made as 1,100 Irish Life staff walked out for a second time in the dispute, with a series of protests held outside the firm's offices in Dublin and Dundalk.

Workers stopped from midday to 2pm after "swiping out" in the latest of four planned two hour stoppages.

The Unite trade union said workers were in dispute with management over a new pay model which it said broke the link between salaries and profits and inflation and meant staff would not know from one year to the next whether they could expect a rise.

Unite regional officer Maeve Brehony said: "Irish Life is unilaterally imposing a new pay model without the agreement of its workers.

"This model, which breaks the link between pay and inflation and pay and profits, effectively excludes Irish Life staff from the company's success.

"This is bad for our members, bad for morale - and, ultimately, bad for Irish Life."

Ms Brehony called on Irish Life to agree to dispute resolution at the Labour Court.

Further work stoppages are planned for November 19 and 26.

Ms Brehony added: "The resolution of this dispute is in Irish Life's hands.

"They need to give an unequivocal assurance that they will attend the Labour Court in respect of all 1,100 Unite members, and negotiate rather than dictate the future pay structure."

Unite said the new pay structure deprived workers of certainty regarding future pay progression.

Irish Life workers voted 92% in favour of industrial action earlier this year and the union accused management of failing to engage with them on the dispute.

The company is owned by Great-West Lifeco.

Irish Life insisted it only switched to the new pay model after a recommendation from the Labour Court a year ago but subsequent talks with union's failed to agree the detail of the new structure.

"Regrettably, an agreement has not been possible thus far despite the best efforts of Irish Life and the Workplace Relations Commission," the company said.

Irish Life said its final offer had not been put to workers by the union.

It included pay rises of 2-15%, linked to performance, for lower paid clerical staff; an increase in bonus ranges, up to 8% of salary, for clerical staff; and 2% pay rises on salaries up to 56,500 euro this year and next for staff who did not wish to move to the new salary structure.

The cl erical division of Irish Life has about 650 employees out of the total 2,300.

The company said: " Irish Life remains committed to resolving these matters either directly with Unite or with the assistance of the Workplace Relations Commission.

"The company has also confirmed that it is willing to go to the Labour Court on the issue of pay for clerical staff."


From Belfast Telegraph