Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Call for payouts for retired civil servants

Cash-strapped Stormont ministers are being urged to dig deeper over the multi-million pound Civil Service backpay deal — with new demands for payouts from former public servants.

More than 450 retired civil servants argue they have been excluded from the deal which is already taking £150m out of the Executive’s already-squeezed coffers.

But Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has so far refused to meet the paid-off pensioners who insist they have been singled out for discrimination. Their case is that while payments were backdated to 2003, only staff who retired after 2008 have been allowed compensation while those who quit before that date have been left out.

“We know it is not a good time to be looking for money,” pensioners’ spokesman Ivan Baxter said. “And probably the public could not care much about retired civil servants.

“But the people who are losing out are the most vulnerable, largely unrepesented and now living on half pay or less, with very little leverage. To single them out in this way seems to be blatantly unfair.

“These are former officials among the lower paid who were also clearly being underpaid, some of them for several years, and their only mistake, it seems, was to retire.”

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