Issues in dispute include unilateral imposition of new pay structure
Company seeking to break link between profits and pay
November 3rd: Trade union Unite today announced that the first in a series of two hour stoppages at insurance giant Irish Life will take place this coming Thursday (November 5th) between noon and 2 pm. If a resolution of outstanding issues is not achieved, this will be followed by three further stoppages on November 12th, 19th and 26th. The action follows the company’s decision to unilaterally impose a new pay model which will result in nearly three-quarters of workers receiving no pay increase for the foreseeable future, regardless of inflation or company profits.
Explaining the background to the dispute, Unite Regional Officer Maeve Brehony said:
“Earlier this year, a ballot of Unite members at the company returned a 92 per cent vote in favour of industrial action in the event of the company proceeding with its plans to impose unilateral changes to pay structures without agreement. Since then, the company has refused to meaningfully engage with Unite on behalf of all staff. The new model proposed by Irish Life and its parent company, GWL, breaks the link between pay and inflation, and between pay and company profits. Not only will our members not know from one year to the next whether they can expect a pay increase – nearly three-quarters of them already know that, under this model, they will receive no pay increase for the foreseeable future.
“They are effectively being excluded from the company’s success. This is bad for our members, bad for morale – and, ultimately, bad for Irish Life”, Ms Brehony said.
“The company is seeking to break the link between pay and profits at a time when profits at Irish Life’s parent company, GWL, have soared by 70% since 2010. And some workers are expected to live on less than the 2015 Living Wage of €11.50, calculated by the Living Wage Technical Group as the minimum necessary to provide an adequate standard of living.
“For over 65 years, Irish Life has been trusted to provide security. Today, that security must start with the company’s workers.
“In order to avert this action, which is due to start on Thursday 5th November, I am again calling on the company to come to the Labour Court and talk to representatives of all its workers without distinction. It is in all our interests that this dispute not escalate beyond the four two-hour stoppages scheduled for this month”, Ms Brehony concluded.