Assembly Must Take Control Over Civil Servant Redundancy Payments Says Committee
Synopsis: The Assembly must have a greater say over reductions to civil servant redundancy payments, a Committee for Finance and Personnel report has stated.
Date: 26 September 2012
Reference: CFP 01/12/13
The Assembly must have a greater say over reductions to civil servant redundancy payments, a Committee for Finance and Personnel report has stated.
The report, which was published today, comes at the end of the Committee’s scrutiny of the Superannuation Bill, which is making its way through the Assembly.
The Bill will remove the requirement for civil service trade unions to approve any reductions in redundancy payments, whether voluntary or compulsory. The Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) considers this necessary to keep parity with Great Britain. In place of the trade union “veto”, the Bill will require the Department to consult with the unions to reach agreement on changes and to report to the Assembly on the outcome of that consultation.
As part of the Committee’s investigation of the Bill’s provisions it took evidence from DFP, trade unions, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, the Equality Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.
Committee Chairperson Daithi McKay MLA said: “It became clear during the Committee’s scrutiny that the Assembly did not have any control over decreasing redundancy payments for civil servants. In our view, this reduced the Assembly’s democratic accountability. As currently drafted, the Bill would enable DFP to make such changes without the Assembly being able to debate and agree any proposals.
“We recognise that opinion is sharply divided over the removal of the trade union “veto”. However, this veto is itself an anomaly within public service as the unions for teachers, council workers and other public servants have no such veto over changes to their redundancy payments. On the other hand, the Assembly already has control over changes to the compensation benefits for these other groups of public servants.
“It is for this reason that we need to address these inconsistencies. Our proposed amendment to the Bill will deal with this important shortcoming.”
Mr McKay MLA concluded: “We welcome the Minister’s recent acceptance of the Committee amendment which will give the Assembly control over any reductions in future compensation benefits.”