A review of labour costs in the ESB, reveal that the average wage is €67,000 - more than twice the average industrial wage.
An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has settled many industrial disputes here in the past ,and in other semi-state sectors by tough negotiation i.e. throwing taxpayers money at the blackmailing unions to avoid unpleasantness, such as a disruptive strike!
The knock on effect of these huge wage bills in pension fund requirements will of course bleed the taxpayer dry in the coming decade.There is also the small matter of a deficit of 600 million Euros in the E.S.B. pension fund.(30% increase in electricity, again, after the next election?).
August 2005 saw sabre rattling and renewed strike threats by the E.S.B. unions,if management continued to use cheap polish subcontractors to renew the national grid.It seems that the E.S.B are only retaining on the payroll, 50% of the newly qualified/grossly overpaid electricians who have finished their apprenticeship. Tough shit. Maybe the rest will have to get an ordinary job (with ordinary wages) like the rest of the country's electricians who work in the private sector.
In 2003, the average wage at the ESB was €61,000, compared to the average industrial wage of €28,000. The average industrial wage is now just under €30,000.
The current average pay of €67,000 also excludes benefits such as guaranteed employment or generous voluntary severance; retail discounts; electricity discounts; medical benefits; the existing shareholding of 5pc; creche facilities; parking; career breaks; and gymnasium and sports facilities.
Trade unions at the ESB are looking for a further pay increase of 18.5pc, support from the company to solve the deficit of about €511m in the ESB superannuation fund, and an increase in the current 5pc staff shareholding to 19.9pc.
Up to recently, workers at power plants like Moneypoint earned even more. They were on up to €95,000 (including overtime) a year. But last summer, managers at the ESB agreed a deal to buy the Moneypoint workers out of their overtime, in return for guaranteed annual wages of €87,000.
A spokesman for the ESB said it will co-operate with any review by the Commission for Energy Regulation, including labour costs.
The ESB unions/workers now own 20% of this enormous semi state entity/public utility,which has been built up over the past 60 years with money extracted from every worker in the country.They were handed this bejewelled crown by Bertie Ahern.The rest of the population will pay the price, for decades to come..
Many hundreds of E.S.B employees who were made redundant when old peat burning power stations in the Midlands were taken out of comission ,continue to clock in every morning ,and the E.S.B unions have negotiated a deal whereby they will get full salary for doing nothing for the remainder of their lives.!
Well,after all it,s only taxpayers money,-another 20% on the price of a kilowatt.?
|Homebuyers warned of potential hike in house prices|
|16:26 Friday June 23rd 2006|
The Commission for Energy Regulation has approved a 67 per cent increase in connection charges by ESB Networks for domestic scheme developments.
The Construction Industry Federation has criticised the decision.
It said the quality of service from ESB Networks is appalling and costing builders massive amounts of money through lengthy delays.
SFA slams 'incredulous' energy price increases :: latest
The Small Firms Association (SFA) has in September 2006 criticised the announcement by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) of gas price increases of 33.8%, and proposed electricity price increases of 19.6% for small companies.
The increases are further evidence that the CER is intent on introducing competition to the energy market at the cost of industrial competitiveness, according to the organisation.(I.E., soon the grotesque and expensive wind energy from the "wind farms" proliferating across the irish countryside, will be no more expensive than the E.S.B oil fuelled electricity generating stations)
The scope, scale and extent of these increases will have wide ranging impact on Irish business, according to the SFA director Patricia Callan.
"This type of decision has now become the hallmark of the regulation of the Irish public utility sector," said Callan.
"Ireland is moving further and further out of line with our competitors for energy costs, and the consequences of this decision will undermine the exposed sectors of the economy, increase already high inflation by 0.4%, add to raw material costs and severely impact our manufacturing sector."
"Energy is complementary to the rest of the economy. A failure to supply at competitive prices adds costs to businesses operating in Ireland, with consequential effects on business competitiveness.
"It is incredulous that at a time when every economic report on the Irish economy stresses the need to reduce costs, increase productivity and regain competitiveness, Irish businesses are again being undermined in this way.
"Competitiveness is critical to the survival of all Irish companies and energy price is a key input indicator."
In the SFA’s fifth Annual Business Survey, energy costs emerged as second only to labour costs, in terms of business costs, being cited as the number one business problem by 11.2% of respondents, and as a major business problem by 77% of small businesses.
"The business community urgently requires a business-friendly energy policy, which ensures the secure, reliable, efficient and competitively priced delivery of energy, as a key ingredient for successful and sustainable growth of businesses, competing in a global marketplace," said Callan.
She went on to criticise the price rises in the context of recent increases VAT & excise duties collected on foot of the increasing oil and energy costs.
"Earlier this week, the Department of Finance announced a surplus of €203m, compared with an anticipated deficit of €3bn," said Callan.
"Whilst this may appear to be good financial management, it is arising from the imposition of undue hardship on those businesses already struggling to remain competitive and is clearly unnecessary.
"In Budget 2007, the Government must address these issues by reducing excise & VAT rates on energy; and by providing capital grant aid and/or tax credits for energy efficient investments".
Callan then echoed the call by many organisations for greater competition in the Irish energy market.
"The current model of energy market liberalisation, has not alone failed but has also added significant costs to Irish business," she said.
"The proposed increases in gas and electricity prices are simply unacceptable to the small business community. There is little or no effective competition in the energy supply markets in Ireland.
"In addition, investment in energy infrastructure must be financed in an equitable manner to ensure that customers of today are not paying for the benefit that will also be derived by future generations.
"We need to see some equity in this system, some competition in the system, but all we get are price increases."
ALTHOUGH we have grown accustomed to hyped-up launches of Government policies, strategies and even "policy strategies", the weary Irish public must view the publication of the Green Paper on Energy in october 2006 as a new record in vacuous waffle.
The importance and urgency of the subject are past questioning. We stand on the brink of an energy crisis, far more threatening than the oil crises of the 1970s. A representative of Shell, defending his company's unpopular stance in the Corrib gas controversy, summed it up: "Mr Putin can switch off the lights."
Fearful of Mr Putin and his finger on the switch, the British government lately performed a U-turn and reinstated a policy of generating nuclear power. Ireland is much more vulnerable. What is Ireland going to do?
The Green Paper tells us, but it does not tell all. We dismiss the nuclear option. Instead, we will complete two interconnectors with Britain by 2012, one of which will be operated by a private company. In other words, we will buy from our neighbours electricity partly or mainly generated by nuclear power.
This could be called hypocrisy, or having it both ways, according to taste. But at least it is based on solid reality. Not so the aspirations on power generation from environmentally friendly sources, which wander into the realm of fantasy.
By 2020, 30pc of our electricity will come from renewable sources, almost exclusively wind power. Perhaps the Government has not noticed the vehement objections, justified or otherwise, to windfarms.
And by the same date, we will have reduced energy demand by 20pc. There is not a scintilla of evidence that the Irish public have any intention of reducing demand, or indeed any consciousness of the necessity. Where has this figure of 20pc come from? In all probability, thin air.
Set against the Government's proclaimed good intentions, meanwhile, is its performance in an area where it has control and the facts necessary to back up policy.
Its own consultants say that Irish consumers have to pay €100m a year more than they should in ESB charges. (This figure will rise with the huge increases in the price of electricity and gas.) They recommend the break-up of the ESB. Incredibly, the Government objects. Whose finger on this switch?The force be with him (Irish Independent)
Irish domestic consumers now pay 51pc more for their electricity than the EU average. That's a high price for ordinary people to have to pay for the Government's failure to introduce meaningful competition.
What competition there is benefits industrial users, but they too are paying much more than they should.
Industrial electricity prices put us among the three most expensive countries in Europe.
Large business users pay 21pc more than the EU average, medium-sized users 26pc more, and small business, which make up the lifeblood of the country, an unbelievable 35pc more
Energy costs in Ireland are now on average 20 per cent higher than for EU neighbours.
Since 2003, the country has seen increases of 50 per cent in gas prices, 30 per cent in electricity prices and 40 per cent in diesel oil.
‘‘The government has reaped significant benefits from Vat collected on foot of the increasing energy costs," said SFA(small firms association)chairman Pat Crotty.
‘‘It has enjoyed an additional €1 billion receipted over the past five years, while the excise rate on diesel oil is currently 48 per cent higher than it was in 2001.
Ireland currently has the highest ‘reduced rate’ of Vat, at 13.5 per cent, and the third highest ‘standard rate’ of Vat at 21 per cent, being surpassed only by Sweden and Denmark at 25 per cent and Finland at 22 per cent, in the European Union.