Almost 270,000 public sector staff face a hike in pension contributions to fund their ‘gold-plated’ schemes as the Government emphasises the economy is still recovering.
The Public Sector Pay Commission has found that people who joined the public service before 2013 and are on fast accrual schemes enjoy pensions which are 12% to 18% more valuable than in the private sector — and this must be addressed.
The report suggests that these workers be forced to make a larger contribution to their pensions, even as the Government’s existing pension levy is reversed.
Negotiations to hammer out a new deal on pay, conditions, and inefficiencies in the public service are due to begin in the coming weeks.
As well as pensions, the commission made findings around recruitment and retention of staff and the unwinding of the FEMPI emergency legislation which worsened public servants’ pay and conditions.
Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said: “The objective that we have is to put public service pensions and pay on an affordable footing.”
Public service unions have pointed out that their incomes are significantly lower than they were in 2008 and that, despite claims to the contrary, their earnings are on a par with their private sector equivalents when educational qualifications and experience are taken into account.
They are demanding that talks on a new pay deal begin as soon as possible.
While the minister has put no timetable on the discussions, it would appear they need to be completed by the June bank holiday weekend to allow as many teachers as possible be among the public servants to be balloted.
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