Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ceisteanna (669)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

669. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his response to concerns expressed by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, that the State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014 proposes to set aside protections afforded to employees of the State airports under section 12 of the State Airports Act 2004; and if he will address the specific concerns regarding the introduction of a new section 32(a)(12) and clarify his precise intentions in relation to this section of the legislation. [20953/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

This question relates to the State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014 which was published last month and which provides in section 33 for amendments to the existing statutory provisions governing superannuation schemes in our State airport authorities. As I have made clear on previous occasions, I have no formal function in relation to the resolution of the funding difficulties of the IAS Scheme. This is primarily a matter for the trustees, the members of the scheme, the companies participating in the scheme and the national regulator of such pension schemes - the Pensions Authority.

The amendments in the Bill are designed to facilitate implementation of whatever proposals emerge from the negotiations currently underway to resolve the IAS scheme difficulties and to facilitate changes, by the trustee, to that scheme.

On foot of the concerns expressed by Congress which the Deputy refers to, my Department has explained the rationale for the provisions in the Bill and clarified that they do not pre-empt or anticipate any particular solution that may emerge from the parties to the current discussions nor are they intended to undermine the terms and conditions of employment of staff.  The prospect of further engagement with ICTU on these aspects of the Bill was left open.

The Bill is at Second Stage in the Seanad today and this House will, of course, also have an opportunity to debate its provisions including those relating to the IAS scheme.