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Retired Central Bank officers hit by aggravated pension anomalies

5 October 2015 03:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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One observes a sense of satisfaction amongst government pensioners who have received justifiable increases of their pensions after making prolonged agitation over a long period. 

This is undoubtedly a reward they rightly deserve for their long and dedicated services throughout their careers. There are strong grounds to justify superannuation benefits offered to employees to be treated as their rightful entitlements rather than mere welfare benefits. 

It is an undeniable fact that a worker-friendly employer is not only obliged to remunerate employees adequately whilst in service but also to support them after retirement enabling them to sustain their living conditions at old age in the face of escalating cost of living and other difficulties. 

While periodic salary increases are offered to employees to compensate for inflation, it is the utmost responsibility of the employer to extend equivalent benefits to retired employees so as to prevent erosion of their living conditions. 


Non-adherence to circular
Since inception, the Central Bank has been a model employer that has provided a realistic salary structure for its staff and has remained sensitive to the problems of employees in service granting periodic salary increases. But it is rather disappointing to note that the Bank has, perhaps, inadvertently failed to extend equivalent benefits towards its community of pensioners, particularly during more recent times. 

Specifically, the Central Bank authorities have not adhered to the Public Administration Circular No. 16/2015 of 25th June, 2015, which prescribes revision of pensions in the public sector in tandem with the salary revisions implemented since 2006.

The Bank has yet failed to pay attention to this Circular at all despite the fact that the employees of the Central Bank are public servants in terms of the Monetary Law Act and in the past, most of the circulars implemented in respect of the Government Pension Scheme were applied to the Central Bank Pension Scheme as well. The negligence of the current Circular is a serious lapse on the part of the Central Bank. 

The pensioners can amply vindicate their claims for progressive betterment of the retirement benefits taking into account their yeomen contributions to the Bank sacrificing the best part of their lifetime. The current community of pensioners of the Bank is a mixed lot comprising those who have retired at different times since about 1985. 


Severe aggravation of anomalies
Employees in service have received a series of substantial salary increases while pensioners received meager pittances on such occasions. This has resulted in a severe aggravation of the pension anomalies over the years. Such discrimination against the pensioners who had retired years ago is a gross violation of Rights to Equality stipulated in Article 12 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.    

The disparities in pensions have widened so much that a Deputy Governor who retired in 1986 would be receiving a pension equivalent to one tenth (1/10 ) of the pension of a Deputy Governor retiring today and such pension is also close to the pension of a Minor Employee in Grade 3 retiring today. Similarly, an Executive Director who retired in 1991 receives a pension approximately equal to that of a Minor Employee of Grade 3 retiring today while an equivalent grade officer (presently re-designated as Assistant Governor) retiring today receives a pension approximately eight (8) times the pension received by the Executive Director mentioned above. It should be emphasized here that similar disparities in pensions have occurred at all levels of pensioners in the Bank who retired as far back as 1985 onwards.

The Central Bank owes its current prestige not only to the lavish contributions made by the pioneers in the early stages of its development but also to those employees some of whom have joined the ranks of pensioners during more recent times. 

This latter group of employees performed a herculean task in resurrecting the Bank and its activities consequent to the devastating bomb blast in 1996 which resulted in destruction of the premises, a complete breakdown of the Bank’s services and deaths and injuries of many of the employees. This task was accomplished smoothly and the Bank’s services were brought to normalcy within a short time due to the courage and determination of the employees. These facts themselves would no doubt justify the urgent necessity to rectify the blatant anomalies in pensions and to exercise justice. 

In terms of Section 120 of the Monetary Law Act, every officer or servant of the Central Bank is treated as a public servant. Hence, it cannot be understood why the Central Bank authorities have not adopted the Public Administration Circular No. 16/2015 dated 25th June, 2015 which aims at revising the pensions in accordance with the salary structure implemented since 1st January 2006. 

The revision of public sector pensions prescribed in this circular is effective from 1st July 2015. The Bank’s pensioners have been denied of this relief provided by the government to public sector pensioners. This is illegitimate and unjustifiable.

Taking into account these considerations, the senior pensioners urge that the Central Bank authorities rectify the totally unacceptable pension anomalies without further delay by adopting the above mentioned Public Administration Circular to adjust the pensions in line with the salary increases executed to date.

- Group of senior Central Bank pensioners 
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