‘SDLP disappointment at lack of support for pension fight’ – Bradley

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Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh, Dominic Bradley has expressed disappointment the party’s bid to retain the current public sector pension age for more than 200,000 public sector workers was not supported in the Assembly.

SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley

Bradley was speaking after The Public Service Pension Bill passed its further consideration stage late last night. The SDLP tabled 11 amendments to the bill – four of which passed – in an attempt to “give the best possible voice to the 210,000 public servants”. Bradley had previously warned that the changes could lead to less money circulating in the Northern Ireland economy as retiring civil servants have less financial power, while young workers could face reduced opportunities because more public sector employees are working longer. Bradley said raising the pension age would have a “significant impact” on the Northern Ireland economy. “Only four of our amendments to protect the pension rights of tens of thousands of public servants received the necessary support,” he told Newry Times. “We welcome that support; that we agree it is essential to review the impact of the provisions of the Bill every two years. It should help alleviate concerns around transparency, we are seriously disappointed the DUP, the UUP or the Alliance could not see fit to extend that support to the remaining amendments. “They have failed to acknowledge that many public servants work in physically, emotionally and mentally taxing jobs; failing – for the second time – to back SDLP amendments to retain the pension age. Bradley added, “Nonetheless, I will reiterate what I said previously; the SDLP will not give up the fight on public sector pensions and we will continue to do what we can to protect them.”
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