April 16th: Nearly four months after former Waterford Crystal workers voted to accept the terms of the pension settlement negotiated between Unite and the Government under the auspices of LRC Chairperson Kieran Mulvey, High Court proceedings have still not been wound up due to the State’s failure to circulate a Deed of Release to the plaintiffs. This Deed of Release, which would supersede the letters of understanding exchanged by the parties on December 15th following conclusion of the negotiations, is required to satisfy the High Court that the settlement terms are confirmed and the case is therefore disposed of.
Following acceptance of the settlement by Unite members on December 13th, the case was listed for hearing on January 29th, was adjourned and then listed again on 19th February, 12th March and today (April 16th). It is now again listed for May 14th. Some time ago, Unite was assured that a draft of the requisite Deed of Release would be circulated for approval by March 20th; this did not happen.
At today’s hearing, solicitors for the plaintiffs informed the judge of their, and their union’s, extreme dissatisfaction with this inexplicable delay. The solicitors have also written in the strongest possible terms to the Chief State Solicitor’s office.
Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:
“Our members have fought a long battle to secure their pension entitlements. Five years after High Court proceedings were first initiated, and four months after our members voted to accept the terms of the pension settlement negotiated between Unite and the Government, we are still waiting for the State to issue the necessary paperwork.
“The delay is inexcusable and is causing further stress and uncertainty to our members who simply want to know that they can get on with their lives, secure in the knowledge that they have the pensions to which they are entitled.
“I am calling on the Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, to now do all in her power to ensure that the draft Deed of Release is circulated to ourselves and to our members’ legal representatives without any further delay”, Mr Kelly concluded.