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Iarnród Éireann Cost Containment Agreement

9 November 2012

Implementation of the Cost Containment Agreement terms has commenced. By agreement between the Trade Unions and Management the process is being overseen by an independently chaired joint committee. This body comprises senior representatives of both sides and is chaired by the undersigned. It has the following terms of reference:

 

1. Play a leadership role in encouraging the achievement of the Agreement’s objectives;

2. Monitor, facilitate and review progress on the implementation of the reform agenda;

3. Cost, verify and record savings achieved;

4. Provide a forum for the interpretation of implementation difficulties;

5. Process the resolution of implementation difficulties in the manner provided for in the Sectoral Monitoring Committee arrangements.

The Cost Containment Agreement represents a recognition by both sides of a serious threat to the financial position of Iarnrod Eireann; a position which is unsustainable and which has further declined in the interval. It commits the parties to the urgent achievement of savings and efficiencies through greater flexibilities, reduced numbers of staff, redeployment, restructuring, specified changes in conditions and maximising of the various new deal, 2000, provisions.

At this stage the main focus of the Oversight Committee (OS) is on paragraphs 4 and 8 of the agreement. Paragraph 4 provides for the maximising of efficiency and cost saving provisions of existing collective agreements including the elimination of overtime (New Deal). Paragraph 8 provides for the introduction of a voluntary severance scheme (VS). The Trade Unions prioritised VS and protested at the “unacceptably slow pace” of its implementation. Management in response acknowledge that current pace is not as envisaged. They stress that there is no threat to the VS and advised that it will re-commence as and from the 7th December. The sequence of departures will prioritise those who received dates followed by others from whom applications have already been received.

Under the general umbrella of clause 4, consideration is taking place on a number of areas of potential savings and efficiencies. Also under examination is an analysis of the Company financial position and a design of a method to measure savings. It is envisaged that local meetings will take place in the first instance with a referral to the oversight committee only necessary where agreement cannot be reached.

Certain difficulties were raised by the trade unions in relation to interpretation of clause 6 (accrual of banked annual leave). A subcommittee was established to examine and report on all issues with this clause.

At the request of the trade unions periodic updates of this nature on the work of the Oversight Committee will be issued.

Phil Flynn

Chairman of the Oversight Committee

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