De­laney ac­cused of reneg­ing on prom­ise to re­store pay

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS - EM­MET MALONE Soc­cer Cor­re­spon­dent

FAI staff mem­bers have ac­cused the as­so­ci­a­tion’s chief ex­ec­u­tive John De­laney of reneg­ing on re­peated com­mit­ments to re­verse pay cuts im­posed in 2011 and 2012, at a time of acute fi­nan­cial dif­fi­culty for the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Those em­ployed as de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cers at the time had salaries of just over ¤40,000 cut first by 5 per cent in 2011, then by 10 per cent in 2012. Pen­sion con­tri­bu­tions and ba­sic ex­penses such as mileage for em­ploy­ees of­ten do­ing sig­nif­i­cant amount of travel were also af­fected. In doc­u­ments seen by The

Ir­ish Times, firm com­mit­ments were given that the prior lev­els of pay would be re­stored at some point. In the case of the 2012 pay cut, De­laney clearly stated that the re­duc­tion would only have to be en­dured for a pe­riod of 18 months.

In­stead, in early 2014 he wrote to staff again, stat­ing: “We have con­tin­ued to trade through a very dif­fi­cult eco­nomic cli­mate since the in­tro­duc­tion of these mea­sures.” He com­mit­ted, how­ever, “to com­mu­ni­cate to you by mid-March the po­si­tion in re­la­tion to when the pay and pen­sion con­tri­bu­tions restora­tion will hap­pen this year.”

Ill feel­ing

The restora­tion did not hap­pen that year, though, nor in any since. Staff did re­ceive a 3 per cent pay rise in 2016, but ill feel­ing over the wider is­sue has en­dured. De­laney wrote to staff on Fri­day to in­form them that the as­so­ci­a­tion’s board had now de­cided to of­fer them in­creases of 2.5 per cent in 2018 and 2019, al­though the lat­ter is con­tin­gent, it seems, on the as­so­ci­a­tion achiev­ing cer­tain un­spec­i­fied per­for­mance tar­gets.

The as­so­ci­a­tion ap­pears to be act­ing on a re­port de­liv­ered over the last few days by in­de­pen­dent fa­cil­i­ta­tors Pe­ter McLoone and Ned O’Con­nor, who be­came in­volved in the dis­pute af­ter Siptu had ini­tially said that it in­tended to have the mat­ter re­solved at the Labour Court.

In ad­di­tion to the two-stage 5 per cent rise, the pair sug­gest af­fected staff re­ceive a one-off lump sum amount­ing to 5 per cent of an­nual salary “in full and fi­nal set­tle­ment” of other out­stand­ing claims re­lat­ing to the pay cuts. That, how­ever, would mean that 7 per cent of the pay cuts would ef­fec­tively not now be re­versed.

‘Black and white’

“All we are look­ing for is what we were promised,” says one mem­ber of staff. “De­laney is on record; it’s all there black and white. We were asked to help be­cause the as­so­ci­a­tion was in a bad way and we did that, but we were promised the pre­vi­ous lev­els of pay would be re­stored. We just want that restora­tion.”

Around 90 de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cers, many of them part-funded by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties or other sports- and youth-re­lated or­gan­i­sa­tions, are em­ployed by the as­so­ci­a­tion.

Those who have been there since the orig­i­nal cuts will have lost more than ¤30,000 in gross pay over the six years. Siptu mem­bers who are af­fected will be bal­loted on the as­so­ci­a­tion’s of­fer over the next cou­ple of weeks.

There is clearly anger, though, at what was seen as a firm prom­ise be­ing bro­ken de­spite the money re­ceived by Uefa for tele­vi­sion rights and Euro 2016 qual­i­fi­ca­tion, and re­peated claims in pub­lic by De­laney, whose own in­come has in­creased sub­stan­tially as a re­sult of his elec­tion to the Euro­pean body’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, that the or­gan­i­sa­tion is in­deed in a far stronger po­si­tion now.

John De­laney: stated re­duc­tion would only have to be en­dured for 18 months

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