Limerick council beaten in long-running pensions battle

'Substantial' amounts likely to be paid to retired workers

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Limerick council beaten in long-running pensions battle

Council 'should have acted years ago': Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea

LIMERICK City and County Council’s €12.3m pension expenditure is expected to increase “substantially” after it decided to include overtime in workers’ entitlements, following a number of unsuccessful Labour Court battles.

The issue relates to an intense five-year campaign, led by retired members of the council’s cleaning department, to have their overtime calculated in their pensions. 

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea has confirmed that the council had agreed to include overtime in their pension entitlements.

“Many of these retired staff had contacted me because they were receiving a much smaller pension than they felt they were entitled to based on their years of service for the council," he explained.

In January 2012, Granville man Christy Young was successful after bringing his case to the Rights Commissioner. The Labour Court ruled in his favour after the council appealed the decision. Siptu was then called in to mediate the issue, which once again ruled in Mr Young’s favour.

Despite this outcome, four other retired workers had to bring similar cases forward as “each case had to be decided separately”, said Deputy O’Dea. 

“That made absolutely no sense to me.”

He added that precedence had been set, and that the council should have acted on this “a couple of years ago”.

Frank McDonnell, chairperson of Siptu’s Limerick district council, said that the council will have to pay out “substantial” sums in pensions, and that he imagines other departments will have access to the same entitlements.

Deputy O’Dea said “it is a possibility” that many other retired workers across all council departments will get the added pension payout.

A council spokesperson said it would not be commenting on the matter and it “does not believe it is appropriate to speak about the personal details of staff or customers in a public forum”.