Aer Lingus‘ (Dublin) shareholders have voted in favor of a deal to address the airline’s pension deficit, which was previously described as “a real and significant risk to the success of the company.”
A proposal to plough €190.7 million ($237.6 million) into the pensions scheme, which has taken four years to finalize, was put to shareholders during an extraordinary general meeting December 10.
In a stock exchange disclosure, Aer Lingus said the motion had been passed, with 421,859,027 votes in favor and 1,942,425 against.
The numbers indicate that the holders of close to 80% of the company’s shares voted, while the margin of the vote itself was 99.55% in favor and 0.45 against.
This rubber stamp means the Irish carrier can now proceed with the implementation of the IASS proposal, which will avoid labor conflict, give financial and legal clarity, and stabilize staff costs.
Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport Authority jointly operate IASS, which has an estimated €750 million deficit. Part of the proposals for tackling the problem involve transferring staff to a defined benefit scheme, to which both companies will contribute lump sums totaling €263 million.
The vote followed a stormy meeting at the Dublin Airport Radisson, which was nearly disrupted by protesting retired workers, who at one point surrounded part of the conference room in which it was held and banged on the windows.
A number of former staff attending the meeting itself also expressed their anger to Aer Lingus chairman, Colm Barrington, and claimed the scheme’s trustees had refused to deal with them while the company’s management were ignoring their plight.
They say that they are facing the loss of up to six weeks income a-year under the plan to restructure the insolvent scheme.
The pensioners have hired a legal team and are considering going to court. Leaving the meeting, retired Aer Lingus worker, Vincent McCabe, said “we will go to court if we have to go to court”.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Barrington said that Aer Lingus had honored all its obligations:
“We have got to get the situation resolved and get industrial peace,” he added, referring to the strikes and other unrest that have been a feature of the pension dispute.
Read the full story for the Irish Times: CLICK HERE
Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.
Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 EI-DVM (msn 4634) in the 1963 retro livery arrives in London (Heathrow).
Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: