Since the last edition of TUI News, some developments of note on various issues have taken place. I referred previously to the Deduction–at-source facility provided by the PMG’s office for our RMA subscription. In recent months that service has migrated to another agency – PSSC. The same staff deal with our pensions in Tullamore and if anything the service has been enhanced, through the provision of access to view/download our P60 – the end of year statement of Tax/USC/Pension. It is however a matter of dissatisfaction that pension slips are not posted to us. The decision to discontinue posting our pension slips was contained in the FEMPI measures.
In the last issue also, I referred briefly to our Autumn Break in The Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit. I could not deal with it in any detail as the deadline for this page occurred during that break. So let me say again that it was extremely successful. The Hotel could not have been better, with wonderful food, comfortable accommodation and helpful staff. And of course the package was inclusive of one tour.
So you’ll come on the next one? Well the Spring break will be in Tullamore – the Tullamore Court Hotel. It is accessible by train or bus and the Break is scheduled for March 1st to 4th 2016. The Booking Form can be downloaded from www.rmatui.ie and returned directly to the hotel. You can also book by phone. Our tours will include at least one distillery, Clonmacnoise and Birr Castle Gardens and Telescope, but check the website for full details.
During November and December, quite an amount of lobbying took place. I want to thank sincerely all who visited their TDs or who wrote /emailed them on the Pension Restoration issue. We have seen the ‘stats’ which show an economy leaping forward. It is sad, that as pensioners we don’t feature near the top of the priority list to benefit from the economic recovery. We may have completed our working careers but we will not be written off. Our campaign will continue. Parity in pro-rata pension pay with the pay of serving peers remains a core objective. The Government are tinkering around the edges so far, with the USC, but have failed to address the glaring anomaly in the treatment of public service pensioners’ USC liability compared to that applicable to ‘co-ordinated’ pensions.
RMA members participated in a picket outside Dail Eireann organised by TUI during the debate on FEMPI on November 18th, and the Chairperson Jim McCarthy participated in a joint press conference with TUI which preceded the picket/protest. The Dublin RMA Branch separately organised a rally on November 28th on the Pension Restoration issue. This was addressed by our TUI President, Gerry Quinn, Brian Burke from the Alliance, Bernadine O’Sullivan and Philip Irwin from ASTI and by Paddy Healy who chaired it and myself. Most emphasis was on the necessity to redouble the lobbying effort at this critical time – in the wake of exceptional Exchequer returns and before the General Election.
Well the end-of-year Exchequer returns have come, but have not resulted in any improved deal to eliminate the pension reductions. Perhaps that is not a surprise given the plight of those on hospital trollies or the hundreds of families dealing with flood damage, who require financial assistance. However, the Dept. of Public Expenditure and Reform has not ruled out further alleviation of the Pension cuts “… economic and fiscal progress in the years ahead will determine the scope and timing for further scale-back or elimination of the financial emergency measures, including the PSPR.” For RMATUI and all our retired Public Service colleagues, the task ahead is clear. We must keep our priorities prominent when dealing with canvassers/candidates from all parties, while bearing in mind what combination of parties in any future Government would be most likely to recognise our grievance and address it positively. Let me re-iterate – our lobbying campaign continues until our demands are met: Restoration of pensions for all our members; ‘Parity’ in pension pay with the pay of serving peers; Removal of the pension pay anomaly for members retiring between 2012 and 2018; and Removal of the totally unjust USC arrangements as they affect Public Service pensioners who are not on ‘co-ordinated’ pensions.
Finally colleagues, on behalf of the Management Committee, may I wish you a 2016 full of ‘positives’ and good health. I look forward to seeing more of you participating in our Spring and Autumn breaks and attending our AGM.
Martin Hoye, RMA Secretary.