National Lottery sale moves step closer

Friday 14 February 2014 18.21
The National Lottery is being sold for €405m to Premier Lotteries Ireland
The National Lottery is being sold for €405m to Premier Lotteries Ireland

The sale of the National Lottery has moved one step closer to completion after staff at the company voted to accept terms for transferring to the new owner.

The National Lottery is being sold for €405m to Premier Lotteries Ireland; a consortium comprising the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, An Post and An Post pension funds.

However, issues had arisen relating to transfer terms for the National Lottery staff, most of whom are on secondment from An Post.

Unions had sought a right to revert to their original employer, An Post, if they did not wish to transfer to the new operator.

The first ballot on transfer terms resulted in a dead heat on 31 January.

Following a further Labour Court hearing staff balloted on revised proposals.

While a majority of National Lottery staff backed the proposals, members of the Civil Public and Services Union voted against them.

However, they are bound by the aggregate vote in favour.

CPSU Assistant General Secretary Paul McSweeney acknowledged that the dispute had been a major obstacle to the Government in its plans to sell the lottery.

Those proposals included enhanced assurances about preservation of pension rights and security of tenure, as well as arrangements to allow voluntary transfers from the National Lottery to An Post and vice versa.

The ballot result will be a relief to the Government, which had seen the arrangements to sell the lottery stalled by the industrial relations impasse.

Under the terms of the agreement, Premier Lotteries Ireland is to buy the National Lottery for €405m with the proceeds allocated to fund the proposed National Children's Hospital.

The first half of that amount must be paid within ten days of signing the licence, with the balance due within the following nine months.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin welcomed the National Lottery ballot result.

A spokesperson said discussions on the finalisation of the licence are expected to conclude very shortly.