herald

Saturday 18 November 2017

Chaos fear as 7,000 to quit public sector

A MASS exodus of workers from the public sector is set to hit more than 7,000 by next month, it emerged today.

New figures show that the Government is well on target to slash its overall numbers by 9,000 -- as it aims to cut the massive public sector wage bill.

More than 7,000 public and civil servants have now applied to retire before the February 29 deadline -- a move that will see them retain their pension and retirement tax-free lump sum based on their 2009 salary.

Teachers, gardai, judges and administration officials are all applying to take up the lucrative deal.

As previously revealed by the Herald, the two worst-hit areas will be the education and health sectors.

And there are major fears that the exodus will have a profound effect on frontline services, with Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin warning that the transition period will prove difficult.

Confusion also rages as to whether a significant number of applicants will change their minds at the last minute.

Although official figures from the HSE reveal that 3,200 individual requests are being processed, the body emphasised that many of these health workers may decide to U-turn.

Meanwhile, Department of Education figures show that 640 primary school teachers and 465 secondary school teachers have indicated their intention to retire.

The Herald reported previously that students are facing exam chaos as thousands of Leaving and Junior Cert students sit their mock exams during this time.

An Garda Siochana has also warned of a looming crisis with nearly one third of senior command positions set to be vacant by the deadline. These include:

•Four assistant commissioners, out of 12 positions.

•15 chief superintendents, out of 48 positions.

•45 superintendents, out of 152 positions.

The figures show that so far 650 gardai have opted to leave the force by the end of February.

Just over 12pc of Defence Forces personnel have submitted to retire or be discharged by the deadline with the Department of Environment confirming that 730 local authority workers have expressed interest.

hnews@herald.ie

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