Superannuation Bill

Memorandum submitted by Denise O’Donnell (SU 32)

Summary: I believe that the proposals contained within this Bill are unlawful and discriminatory. The impact of the proposals will be felt most acutely by those members of staff between 50-60 yrs old. This group is, therefore, subject to Age Discrimination. I believe that my employer is in breach of contract if the terms of my redundancy payment are changed without prior agreement.

1. I am 52 yrs old and have worked in the Civil Service since 24.3.75. I am currently working as a P/T HEO as a Contract Manager in Government Office for the North East, which is subject to closure and I face a significant risk of compulsory redundancy.

2. I have worked in various departments over my period in the civil service i.e. DWP/Jobcentre Plus. I have been a loyal servant to the civil service for over 35 yrs and I have stayed with them as it presented security and challenging roles.

3. I am married with 3 daughters. Two daughters are at University at present and I have another daughter due to leave school next year and go onto University. Although my husband works, his wage is not great and I am the main earner in the family. As you can imagine, this is the worst time in my li fe financially and am struggling to manage as it is without the threat of redundancy overshadowing me .

4. I have various disabilities and would find the idea of trying to compete with the rest of the unemployed very stressful, which would in turn make my disabilit y worse. There is also less likelihood of being redeployed as other Government departments in the region are also facing cut backs themselves.

5. Given the current economic and employment position in the regions and the North East's heavy dependency on the public sector, finding alternative employment will be difficult. If this Bill is passed, it will make me considerably worse off, not just financially. My age and disabilities would affect me getting future work. As a valued member of the civil service , if as a result of the Bills removal of what are considered to be my accrued rights, I will be facing severe financial hardship through no fault of my own. The cap will result in a reduction of two thirds of my existing entitlement, which I do not think is fair or what I had originally signed up to when I started the Civil Service.

6. I wish to draw to your attention to the fact that these are clearly stated in the Pension Choices, Understanding your Choices 2002 (document att’d) when the pension scheme changes and we were asked to opt for their pension scheme type. Page 38 states the entitlements that individuals will receive in the event of a redundancy situation. I made my decision on the choice of the scheme on that basis. No one said that the scheme would be changed by legislation in the future. And I feel that I have now been misled by my employer. I would agree to changing legislation for any new employees, but I believe that you should not be changing my existing terms and conditions.

7. I have worked hard throughout my life to support my family and don’t think that I should be made to suffer as a result of bad management of banks etc. I feel that I have an entitlement to the redundancy payments that what was in my contract of employment, not the capped redundancy package.

8. Since it has been decided to abolish in principle Government Offices and formalities of this won’t be known until after the Spending Review in October. This decision was taken several months ago and therefore any redundancy should be on the basis of the scheme which was in existence at that time.

September 2010