Retired An Post employees waiting on cost-of-living pension increase for eight months

More than 7,000 retired An Post employees have been left waiting on fully funded cost-of-living increases to their pensions for eight months due to an “excessively cumbersome and lengthy” Government approval process, according to one of the unions in the sector.

The total increases, awarded in three phases – all overdue now – are worth just over 8 per cent. With average pensions at An Post for those with 40 years’ service put at €320, this would amount to increases of more than €25 per week.

Those affected will be due modest lump sums when the payments are approved largely based on 5 per cent of the increase being backdated to January 1st, 2022.

Seán McDonagh, general secretary of the Communications Workers Union (CWU), has written to both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste seeking their intervention with Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, both of whom are required to sign off on the increases before they can be implemented.

The union argues that neither the Government nor An Post will be required to contribute in any way to the payments which will come out of a pension scheme fund with a current surplus of €580 million.

“It is unacceptable that An Post pensioners, who are getting on in years and on fixed incomes, have been left waiting for nearly nine months for the pension increases they are due. They have been left to endure an excessively cumbersome and lengthy process to approve pension increases. They should not be left waiting for the pension increases they are entitled to and frankly deserve better,” Mr McDonagh wrote to the Taoiseach and Tánaiste.

Speaking to The Irish Times, he said: “From the departments’ perspective, this just requires someone to sign off on it, it could be done with the stroke of a pen. There’s no risk here. The Government isn’t going to be paying out a penny, the company isn’t going to be paying out a penny either. The money is verified as sitting in a bank waiting to be paid to the individuals. And it doesn’t apply to anyone else so there’s no concern over: ‘Well, what’s going to happen with other groups?’

“So what we have asked is for the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to help by going to the Ministers and ask them to move this on, give the approvals, get the thing off the books and let these people spend the few bob because in the current environment they need it.”

Asked about the process, a spokesperson for the Department of Communications said: “It should be recognised that the time taken for the pension approval process is necessary, to ensure that robust governance procedures are in place.

“Following receipt of the requests from An Post, there were queries which required further follow up with the company. There is a shared responsibility for the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, and NewEra [the organisation that provides financial and commercial advice to Government Ministers and Departments in relation to State companies] in processing any such consent requests.

“A report has been submitted by NewEra. The standard process for approval is now being followed. Consideration of the consent requests is well-advanced.”


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