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Saturday 10 December 2016

Irish Water staff take pay row to LRC

John Tierney, Irish Water's managing director
John Tierney, Irish Water's managing director

STaff at Irish Water are asking the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) to intervene in the ongoing row with management at the company over unpaid bonuses.

The LRC will host conciliation talks between the workers group of unions and management at the semi-state company, who have both agreed to attend the discussions on July 13.

Staff at Irish Water, who can earn bonuses of up to 15pc through the "performance related awards (PRA) scheme" in place at the company, have yet to receive any incremental bonus payments.

A spokesperson for Ervia, the parent company for Irish Water, confirmed that management made the decision not to make any payments for the PRA scheme in 2013 and 2014.

Adrian Kane, a SIPTU organiser, believes this is money that staff "have earned" and said they are "very angry" that the company has failed to adhere to the terms of a collective agreement in place since 2013.

"In light of the company failing to honour the terms of the existing model, we are now looking effectively to put back in place what was in place heretofore, a more orthodox and transparent incremental pay system," Mr Kane said.

"If you are to look at the existing collective agreement, people had performed in line with the model that was in place, there were monies due as a result of meeting that performance."

Mr Kane claimed that the company has only told them that it "wasn't appropriate to pay PRA's at this point in time".

Staff at Irish Water and Ervia, formerly Bord Gais, are divided into five different categories.

Bonus

Senior members of the workforce in Irish Water who "consistently meet expectations" can earn up to 15pc in bonus payments. It is understood that at least 65 people were in line for a bonus payment of 14pc.

Ervia confirmed earlier this year that there is a multiplier factor in the PRA system and that it applied to Irish Water too. But they said this can work to both reduce and increase bonus payments made to staff if their work goals are not met.

An Irish Water spokesperson said the controversial bonuses are non-pensionable and are "pay at risk".

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