A UNION boss says she is hopeful that agreement can be reached over plans to change compensation and injury benefits payable to government staff.
It was announced last week that a working group had been set up to review and modernise the current ‘complex’ benefit schemes which have been in place since the 1980s but which are linked to various pension schemes that have now been superseded by the Government’s Unified Scheme (GUS) introduced in April this year.
Related Article: Manx government staff compensation scheme outdated.
Angela Moffatt, negotiations officer for the Prospect-Government Officers’ Association, said change was inevitable.
She said: ‘Change has already happened in the UK and change therefore was always on the cards in the island.
‘It was part of our negotiated position on GUS that we would have negotiation on this – which is why I’ve always been somewhat mystified by statements made on the floor of the Keys highlighting the need for change.’
Ms Moffatt said that in the UK the changes had ‘definitely’ been about cutting costs.
‘Cost is an issue here,’ she said. ‘But there is a whole wadge of schemes that will probably end up just being one.
‘This is about streamlining, simplification and obviously about cost.’
She said that where the unions were given the opportunity to engage in ‘calm, rational, dialogue’, there was invariably a satisfactory outcome.
This was what the union was aiming for and it was a case of ‘everybody keeping a calm head and keeping focussed’, she added.
Ms Moffatt said the provisional deadline of December was ‘quite optimistic’ but the unions were hopeful they could work to that but that it would be better, if needed, to ‘take longer to get it right rather than rush it and get it wrong’.
Compensation benefits provide for those public sector workers who are made redundant while injury benefits are provided for those government workers who are injured during in the course of their employment and are payable on either a temporary or permanent basis, dependent on the circumstances.
Historically, the island’s public service pension and other related benefits for public servants have been based upon equivalent provisions in place in the UK.
However, because of the implementation of the Unified Scheme and also recent changes made to UK compensation and injury benefit arrangements, the Council of Ministers considered that the Isle of Man arrangements should also be reviewed.
The working group is chaired by the Public Sector Pensions Authority’s vice chairman Alfred Cannan MHK who said its aim was to bring employers and employees together to seek a common solution to employee benefit issues.
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