You will be aware, from GS Circular 03/23 issued on the 30th January 2023, of the Union’s efforts to secure restoration of pensionable pay increases. CWU, with the support of AHCPS and Fórsa, have worked hard to protect the viability and sustainability of the Superannuation Schemes. Having done so, we outlined the successful outcome of discussions which included a Labour Court Recommendation, that delivers an accumulative 10.3% pensionable increase and narrows the gap between pensionable and non-pensionable pay to 3.75% under the current pay agreement.
The Union’s work has resulted in delivering the following increases to staff, pensioners and deferred pensioners:
- 2% paid from 1st January 2022
- 5% due from the 1st January 2022
- 2% due from the 1st January 2023
- 1% due from 1st July 2023
The above payments were secured by the Union with the assistance of the Labour Court, approved by Mercers, the Trustees and accepted by the Board of An Post. However, under the terms of the Trust Deed the payments to pensioners are considered discretionary and require approval by the Minister of Environment, Climate & Communications, and also the Minister for Finance. While we acknowledge there is a requirement for oversight by Government, the process itself is unacceptable, prolonged and protracted.
In our further efforts to accelerate the payments to pensioners, CWU has secured the full support of the ICTU General Secretary, Owen Reidy, who has made representations to Government seeking to expedite the agreed payments and to put in place a more streamlined process and timeline to avoid delays to future increases.
It is important to outline, the priority the Union placed on achieving pensionable increases to ‘close the gap’ is the sole reason the increases can be applied to pensioners. As a Union, we are determined to ensure that these positive increases for members in An Post are also applied to pensioners.
This successful outcome is sometimes misrepresented and it is suggested pensioners are treated less favourably. This is not the case, as the very same pensionable increases that we secured for staff have, without exception, applied to pensioners, albeit we have had to overcome further ministerial sign–off hurdles to extract payment. Unless the Union secures increases in pay from An Post, there is no other possibility of having pensionable increases.
There is one other issue that I should address at this point relating to the folly proffered by some, that the 1983 P&T Act is a panacea for securing pension increases at An Post. This is not the case and our legal advice confirmed this. The Act certainly makes provision that pre ’84 employees should not be treated less favourably than civil servants. However, this should be considered against the background of collective agreements and the reductions in pay and pensions of our colleagues in the civil and public service. Furthermore, government has discharged all of its liability to the An Post Superannuation Schemes, which essentially means that to secure a pension increase, requires both a viable company and also a viable pension fund.
For your information, the cumbersome process the Government currently has in place as outlined, above, includes examination by NewERA (New Economy & Recovery Authority), which the Government claim is necessary to ensure the stipulated governance process is complied with. Surprisingly at the end of May, NewERA required An Post to have the Labour Court clarify if it was their understanding the agreed increases were intended to apply to pensioners. For your information, I attach the associated correspondence, which confirms the Labour Court upheld the Unions claim, which includes increases for pensioners.
The above is testimony to the fact that the CWU has led the successful campaign and secured agreement with all stakeholders to close the gap between pay and pensionable pay for members in An Post and pensioners. A restoration of 6% is a significant addition to the payments due under the pay agreement, which are subject to the limits in the agreed Accord.
Thankfully, the Union has received confirmation NewERA has completed their examination and a report has issued for sign-off and approval to both Ministers. In the expectation of authorisation to make the payments, An Post has confirmed to the Union that arrangements are in place to enable early payment.
In the event confirmation of a payment date is not confirmed, the National Executive Council will review the matter at its next meeting on the 28th July 2023 and decide what action is required to achieve the agreed payments.
Attachment to GSP 11-23
Publication Type: Circular