Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (400)

Richard Bruton

Question:

512 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science his plans to open negotiations with the representatives of employees in the public service who are affected by the new proposals for pension entitlements of new entrants; when these negotiations will commence; the procedures for arbitration which will be used in the event of issues being unresolved in the course of direct negotiation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1854/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

The Deputy is referring to the announcement in budget 2004 of the Government decision that the minimum pension age should be increased to 65 years for most new entrants to the public service, including teachers, from 1 April 2004.

In announcing the Government's decision on pension age, and also on the intended abolition of compulsory retirement age for most new entrant public servants from 1 April 2004, the Minister for Finance stated that the public service unions would be fully informed about the implementation of the reforms in advance of their introduction with effect from 1 April 2004. I can confirm that the process of informing the public service unions has commenced. Since the Government has already taken its decision on these changes affecting new entrants, the issues of negotiation and arbitration do not arise.

The minimum pension age for existing public servants is not in any way affected by the Government decision.