Speaking on RTE’s morning Ireland yesterday, the Secretary of the ESB group of unions Brendan Ogle said power cuts could be on the cards for ESB customers before christmas, over a row that centres on a €1.6bn deficit in the company pension scheme.
The result from a ballot of members voted 87.5pc in favour of industrial action and 12.5pc against. Union officials will this Friday to decide whether to push forward with strike action or enter fresh talks. Should they opt for the nuclear option, strike action notice will be served on the ESB by the end of the month, and the strike would follow once the notice expires. Likely to be around the middle of December.
Brendan Ogle confirmed the average ESB worker earns over €65,000, Brendan neglected to mention the wide range of perks available to boost income. When you include pension contributions from the company, the annual salary rises to over €90,000. In fact recent reports according to the Irish independent say average payroll costs per employee are around €104,000. There is also the little perk of discounted electricity, a cold comfort to the rest of the country that pays the second highest electricity prices in the EU according to Eurostat.
The leader of the ESB unions, Dundalk man, Brendan Ogle, came to prominence during the rail in strike in the summer of 2000, when he led a small breakaway union, ILDA (Irish Locomotive Drivers Association). In a highly unusual arrangement the ESB is paying Brendan Ogle more than €80,000 plus expenses out of its own coffers, despite Brendan not being a member of staff. (That’s socialism for ya). The ESB also finances his full-time secretary’s wages and offices on Merrion Square in Dublin. Maybe some enterprising young journalist can do a freedom of information and find out how much that costs the tax payer and consumer.
Brendan Ogle is threatening strike action, in effect he is threatening to ruin your christmas and destroy hard pressed businesses because his union members want the consumer and the tax payer to foot the bill for their generous pensions. Are we paying the second highest electricity prices in the EU for this? Here’s a radical suggestion, how about ESB workers fund their own pensions, like most other people who live in the real world.
Brendan Ogle his not credible when it comes to defending or arguing the ESB unions case. His media and public relation skills are wanting as they have been in the past, and then there is this video that has resurfaced from May 2011.
In a speech to Éirígí, the far left socialist republican nobody’s, he describes the ESB members as “spoilt”. Mr Ogle also claimed ESB workers enjoyed government “gravy” in the form of perks such as after-work schemes.
So your own Union chief thinks you are spoilt and on the Government gravy train. What do ESB members wonder what the rest of the population are going to think about their generous pensions?