Belfast Telegraph

Retired civil servants fight on for lost cash

Retired civil servants left out of the multi-million pound pay-out by the Stormont Executive are taking their case to the Equality Commission.

More than 450 former officials say they have no choice after Finance Minister Sammy Wilson refused to meet their representatives over the backdated salary payments — and intend to maintain their campaign for “fair treatment”.

The Civil Service Pensioners Alliance (CSPA) argues its members have been excluded from the deal, which is already taking £150m from the Executive’s ever-tightening coffers.

Claiming they have been discriminated against on the grounds of age, 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 are being ignored.

Mr Wilson has refuted their argument, and insisted a meeting would not serve “to progress matters any further”.

But now the aggrieved senior citizens are asking the commission to step in and investigate whether Mr Wilson’s Department of Finance and Personnel failed to comply with its own equality scheme in hammering out the deal with the main Civil Service union, the NI Public Service Alliance.

CSPA spokesman Ivan Baxter said he believed the department knew all along its approach would mean retired people losing out. This, he argued, amounted to age discrimination — flying in the face of the Assembly’s appointment of an Older Persons Commissioner.

A spokesman for the Equality Commission said: “The commission has not yet made a decision on whether or not to conduct an investigation arising from this complaint.”

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