Bord Gais staff rush to cash in on big pay-offs
WORKERS at Bord Gais have applied for voluntary redundancy and early retirement packages worth hundreds of thousands of euro each.
It comes as hard-pressed householders face sharp increases in their energy bills.
Some 80 Bord Gais staff out of a workforce of 1,000 applied for the schemes, substantially more than the 50 or 60 the company had been expecting.
Bosses at the semi-State offered the packages in a bid to cut pay-related costs by 10pc by next year.
Recent figures showed Bord Gais lost more than 122,000 customers to rivals Airtricity and ESB Electric Ireland.
Staff at the company, who were offered four different packages, are paid an average of just over €67,000 a year.
Separately, hundreds of its employees are seeking "disturbance money" to compensate them for moving offices.
The company is consolidating its operations by moving its headquarters from Foley Street in Dublin 1 to Warrington Place.
As part of the redundancy and retirement measures, staff are eligible to apply for a lump sum worth a year's salary plus half their wages for 10 years after they leave, it emerged.
The company is currently considering the applications, which closed last month.
The three main unions that represent workers at the company -- SIPTU, the TEEU and Unite -- operated as a single group in negotiations on the schemes.
The company could not be contacted for a comment this morning. Bord Gais said previously that decisions about which applications are accepted will be based on business need and on the principle that these roles will not be replaced.
In the meantime, householders are in line to be hit with a more than 20pc rise in Bord Gais bills. The company implemented an electricity price hike of more than 10pc this month.
It has applied to the Commission for Energy Regulation for a gas price increase of 28pc, with the regulator proposing a rise of around 22pc.