Opening Bell: Public sector pensions, under-employment, new Dublin jobs

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Retired public servants say the Government needs to bring forward the date for restoring their pensions.

The payment, which was reduced in 2010, is due to be fully restored in 2021 but the Alliance of Retired Public Servants argues that, by that time, over 40,000 former workers will have died without receiving their full entitlements.

It claims the Government has the resources to bring the date forward and is meeting with the Department of Public Expenditure today set out their arguments.

Chairperson Brian Burke said:

"Workers rightly have the option of making a decision in relation to whatever they're offered and they also have a third-party arbitration process that can be available to them on an ad-hoc basis.

"Unfortunately pensioners do not have that same option. But having said that, you have to remember, one of the constituencies that vote the most are older people. Public service pensioners vote."

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Some 101,000 people are under-employed in Ireland, according to new figures from Eurostat.

People who want to work more hours than their employer can provide and are usually subject to zero-hour contracts fall into the category.

About 23% of part-time workers in Ireland are under-employed, just above the EU average.

Irish European Commission representative Eoin O'Leary said of the trends:

"From today's figures we can see that Ireland is just above the EU average for under-employment figures...

"That does represent a drop of about 10,000 from last year, so that's worth being positive about.

"We also see from today's figures that, as with most EU countries, most of those under-employed workers in Ireland are women."

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Pitney Bowes is to create 100 new Dublin jobs.

The tech company has announced that it is to open a new operations centre in the capital.

The facility will house a three year multi-million euro research and development project will work on creating new payment systems.

Pitney Bowes is looking for people skilled in technical support, customer service and e-commerce professionals.

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Hong Kong has had its credit rating downgraded from Aa1 to Aa2 on Wednesday.

The cut from Moody's came hours after China's rating was also lowered for the first time since 1989.

The credit rating giant attributed the move to the city for being too economically tied to Beijing, with the relationship described as "close and tightening".

China has dismissed the agency's concerns about ballooning debt and slowing economic growth.