Dublin Airport Authority staff belonging to SIPTU have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a long-running dispute over their pension scheme.

The Irish Aviation Superannuation Scheme, which covers workers in the DAA and Aer Lingus, has a deficit of around €780m.

Staff and management at the two companies have been in dispute over how to restructure the pension arrangements in order to preserve as much as possible of workers' pension entitlements.

DAA staff voted 94% in favour of industrial action, 89% in favour of strike action and 81% in favour of ceasing contributions to the troubled pension scheme.

SIPTU's Pension Policy Advisor Dermot O'Loughlin said the result "demonstrates that staff at the airports are angry, disillusioned and frustrated that an acceptable resolution have not been found to the pensions crisis".

The result of a similar ballot of SIPTU members at Aer Lingus will be revealed on Tuesday. 

For over three years, management and unions at the two companies have been locked in negotiations on seeking a resolution to the pension dispute, which has been to the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

A funding proposal to address the deficit by restructuring pension arrangements was rejected by the Pensions Board last year.

The scheme would have involved freezing the existing scheme, and buying long-term bonds to secure the employees' benefits accrued to date.

Future pension entitlements would be based on new separate defined-contribution schemes in the DAA and Aer Lingus.

DAA calls on unions to avoid industrial action

The DAA has rejected suggestions that it was not doing everything in its power to achieve a fair resolution of the pensions issue.

The authority said a resolution will require co-operation and compromise and called on SIPTU not to contemplate industrial action.

It said such action would “only cause concern and inconvenience for customers and would not bring the desired resolution of the pensions issue any closer.”

“The DAA is committed to securing such a resolution and believes it can be best achieved based on last year's Labour Court recommendation,” it added.

The authority said it was awaiting updated proposals from the pension fund trustees.