In September 2016, around 150 staff moved from Aramark to Mount Charles after they won a cleaning contract. However since then, Mount Charles has failed to deal with pension entitlements for those staff falling under the NI Civil Service pension scheme. Despite retiring last year, many of these low paid staff have still not received their pension payments and there is no end in sight.

NIPSA, the largest public sector trade union in Northern Ireland, has been working tirelessly to secure these pension entitlements are paid. Despite our efforts staff have yet to receive their pension payments as Mount Charles have failed to provide the Civil Service Pension Scheme with the necessary data for calculations.

Lisa Hoy, NIPSA Higher Executive Officer stated:

“I am contacted regularly by a member who retired in April 18 but has yet to receive a single pension payment. This person is relying on friends and family to afford to live. Other staff are frightened to retire as they cannot afford to be left in a similar situation. This is totally unacceptable. NIPSA have been engaging Mount Charles and Civil Service Pensions Branch to resolve these problems without success as it seems information has been returned to Mount Charles on numerous occasions with errors to be fixed.

There does not appear to be urgency from Mount Charles to resolve this issue and, as a result, NIPSA have recently lodged a complaint with the Pensions Regulator. Neither Mount Charles nor Civil Service Pensions Branch can tell us when people will begin to receive what is rightfully theirs. This is unacceptable, especially as the majority of staff impacted are low paid workers.

We urge Mount Charles to resolve the issue as soon as possible. People are entitled to receive their pension and this should not be held back from them.”

6 million people will now have to work a further year.

The Westminster Government announced on 19 July that it is to increase the pension age to 68, between 2037 to 2039, affecting 6 million people who will now have to work a further year.

In previous postings 20 April 2016 and 10 February 2016 I detailed the Westminster Government’s proposals to radically amend the compensation/redundancy entitlements across the public sector.