As we continue on our campaign for total pension restoration we are embarking on a new round of political lobbying over the next few months in association with other groups under the umbrella of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants. We have had a number of meetings of the RMA Management committee where we have agreed the following points for use when lobbying:
- The Alliance of Public Servants is comprised of retired public service organisations representing over 100,000 retired public servants
- Priorities of Alliance
- Pension Restoration – Total removal of Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) levy from all pensions
- Retention of parity with serving colleagues
- Statutory negotiating right
- Government is using emergency legislation to restrict the property rights of public sector pensioners by imposing a levy on their pensions. In order to renew the emergency legislation each June Government has to certify that a financial emergency still exists. Government Ministers, including the Minister for Finance, have stated publicly that the ‘Emergency’ is over. Please note that Government receipts from taxation were ahead of target in 2015 and 2016, as unemployment falls.
- Pension contributions are a mandatory part of the employment contract of public servants. Sovereign Governments must honour contracts with their employees.
- Public servants paid towards their pension in the full expectation that the Government would honour all its terms. The terms of public service pensions was spelled out in the 2nd Benchmarking Report 2007 which was accepted by Government and unions.
- Pay awards, in the Public Service, have been discounted in the past to take account of pension entitlements, e.g. 2nd Benchmarking Report imposed 12% discount.
- Many public service pensioners will not have their pensions fully restored by the end of 2018, and at this time, no timescale exists, nor does any agreement exist to have the remaining portion of those pensions restored.
- A serious anomaly exists for persons who retired since March 2012. Post March 2012 retirees lose 5.5% on their pensions and no provision has been made to align their pensions with those of comparable colleagues who retired before then.
- The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has informed union leaders that he intends to retain the link between pay and pensions. We welcome the comments of the minister but it needs to be put in legislation to stop current and future Governments using it as bargaining tool.
- Public service pensioners pay USC on all of their pension payments. Persons in receipt of contributory or non-contributory State Pensions do not.
At the time of writing we are looking forward to our Spring break in Wexford (almost seventy are booked in), I will give you a report on this break in the next issue of TUI News.
Finally colleagues, can I remind you that details of our forthcoming AGM in The Brandon Hotel in Tralee Co. Kerry are to be found on our website – www.rmatui.ie. The AGM will take place there on May 24th, with registration from 10.30 and the AGM starting at 11.30. Please note that the Hotel requires us to book before April 24th.