Rabbitte describes split between ESB unions and management as 'hiccup'

The ESB says it accepts the Labour Relations Commission brokered settlement to resolve the dispute with workers over its pension fund.

In a statement in the last hour, the company said it acknowledges the assistance of the LRC in arriving at a resolution yesterday, which has averted a strike in the run-up to Christmas.

It follows confusion over the terms of the deal - the company says it will not cost the taxpayer anything whilst the unions disagree, saying it will add around €369m in liabilities to the ESB's balance sheet.

The Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte has described the confusion as a "hiccup" and said it is up to the LRC to resolve the issue.

Minister Rabbitte said the important thing is it will not lead to power cuts.

Brendan Ogle, secretary of the group of unions, said that the ESB statement helps to remove any uncertainty.

"The document from the LRC is very, very clear and it has an ESB signature on it" he said.

"In terms of the public and the staff and the ESB, I welcome it because it puts their minds at rest".

"Clearly the scheme is back to the proper accounting basis as a defined benefit scheme, and the company’s offending statements have been removed from the account - so in that sense it's welcome and we're glad to put this behind us."

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