Vote for strike over ‘pensions apartheid’
STAFF at RTE, Ireland’s public broadcaster, have voted heavily to strike to improve their pension scheme. A ballot recorded an 85 per cent “yes” vote for action to bring all staff into a scheme giving a decent income after retirement.
RTE has a three-tier pensions structure. Long-serving staff are on a good “defined benefit” scheme, but employees joining since 1990 are on a “defined contribution” scheme with no guarantee of the pension to be paid. There is a “gold-plated” scheme for executives.
Unions at RTE have long sought to improve the inferior scheme and managers have agreed to set up a “hybrid” scheme with a “defined benefit” element for the majority of staff.
The unions say the offer so far is simply not good enough and action is needed to force managers to improve it.
The NUJ has fought to save pensions when Irish newspaper companies have tried to worsen their schemes, but this is the first time it has prepared for action to improve rather than defend a scheme.
NUJ rep Mary Curtin, secretary of the RTE Trade Union Group, said: “ This vote sends a clear signal that we will no longer tolerate a system of pension apartheid and are prepared to take the strongest action necessary.”
The timing of the action will depend on whether RTE agrees to negotiate.