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Public Service Pay Deal

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | opinion/analysis author Tuesday March 30, 2010 16:02author by Róisín Ní Maoileoin Report this post to the editors

The Government have negotiated a tentative agreement with the public sector unions. Let us have a look at what the union representatives agreed to:

1. No restoration of pay cuts
2. Longer hours for the same wages
3. 7-day work weeks resulting in no overtime
4. Redeployment of workers at Government's discretion
5. Staff reduction
6. Outsourcing of public sector jobs at Government discretion

The Government, in return for these concessions, will consider in 2011 whether they might start thinking about restoring some cuts to the lowest paid workers, but only if their overall budget is looking good. The earliest lower paid workers could hope for a restoration of wages would be in 2014.

That's it. Really, that's it. Late last year the Government decided not to negotiate a similar agreement with the unions. They walked away from the table, instituted pay cuts and tax levies, and only went back to the table when those were in place. Having achieved those unilateral, contract-defying changes, they agreed to go back to the table only so they could 'negotiate' further cuts. And they've done it. The union secretaries who were party to this farce will now return to their unions and explain how in today's economic climate it's the best deal available and urge the rank-and-file to ratify the agreement.

Let us not forget that today is the day Government is expected to announce a further bank bailout to the tune of €22 billion and only a little while after the government agreed to allow large raises to the executive board of NAMA. The message should be clear. We're not in this together.

author by Angry Public Servantpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:10Report this post to the editors

Unions "win" deal with government. Exactly the same deal they were willing to go on strike for.
Well, just a few months after the unions left government buildings broken and embarassed, they have gone and sold their members down the swanny.
No reverse of pay cuts, cooperation with transformation, redeployment and further pay rate erosion due to incremental progression revision (all this while we pour another 20billion into the banks and 600 billion remains in the hands of foreign companies drilling for oil and gas off our coast)
The unions have betrayed their members who never gave them a mandate to go in to these talks in the first place.
Disgraceful move by well paid union leaders.
I'm passing on my resignation as shop steward.
Good luck!

author by Solidarity seekerpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:08Report this post to the editors

I can understand how angry you are, but don't walk away. Trade Unions need activists willing to stand up to their own leaders when neccessary. If you leave behind the nodding yes men/women then the wasters get away with it. Fight from below build up grass roots Trade Unionism with back to basics agenda. It's time the workers had propper leadership. If the heads of the Unions won't show it we have to push them aside and do it for them.

author by Civil Servantpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2010 14:31Report this post to the editors

I agree this is an outrageous betrayal. However, we will soon have an opportunity to ballot and that will give us the means to chastise our leaderships.

Or, as I suspect will be the case, it will give the gutless majority in the Public Service the chance to surrender unconditionally and without a shred of honour.

author by Paddy Healy - National Public Services Alliance‏publication date Tue Mar 30, 2010 16:49Report this post to the editors

The “public service deal” is historic betrayal of public service union members by ICTU and its Public Services Negotiating Committee of general secretaries.

National Public Services Alliance calls on the elected national executives of individual unions to reject these proposals without ballot where rules permit.

Should national executives put these proposals to ballot, NPSA will campaign vigorously in each union for a “no” vote

ICTU is collaborating with government in cutting back public services in schools, hospitals, universities, social welfare offices etc.

A fire sale of conditions of service, established over decades, has been conducted by the general secretaries

The demand for a contribution from the super rich through assets tax and a third income tax band has been dropped while the unions are acquiescing in cuts in social welfare

The 50 billion in assets of the top 300 individuals are being left untouched while 22 billion is being poured into banks who are increasing mortgage repayments

But there is no guarantee that the public service pay cut will be restored according to Kieran Mulvey on RTE this morning even if cost savings are made.

The general secretaries have agree that the Staffing Moratorium and “Pension Levy”(discriminatory tax on public servants) will continue

For the first time public service union leaders have accepted the principal of compulsory redundancy in public service

The existing Pension scheme has been given away by the general secretaries for new entrants with a vastly inferior scheme being introduced for next year

A pay freeze in the public service has been agreed until 2014 even if the economy recovers and comparable employees secure pay rises

It is outrageous that public servants should be asked to vote on the alternatives of beggaring themselves and their dependants or maintaining their conditions of service

ICTU and the General Secretaries have allowed the government to cut pay and to blackmail public servants into agreeing to entirely inappropriate changes in public service provision and conditions of service.

Government can break this agreement, including the restoration of pay cuts, at any time in future if government deems that the economic situation requires this. While there are review dates there are no dates for actual payment and no agreed amounts in each phase

Staff will be forced to accept redeployment under pain of compulsory redundancy

This means that ICTU and the General Secretaries have conceded that public servants are no longer permanently employed as previously understood

Staffing Moratorium and “Pension Levy”(discriminatory tax on public servants) will continue

Unilateral abrogation of current pay agreement by government is agreed by general secretaries (Public Services Negotiating Committee) though being paid in private sector and commercial state sponsored bodies

Cost savings will be funded from elimination of posts under moratorium, changes in employment contracts and the application of Transformation Agenda including cuts in health, education and general public service provision.

Government have “promised” to avoid further pay cuts but only until 2014 provided cost savings are delivered!(but this government will probably be long gone by then)

Pay cut may be restored in stages over a number of years provided that:

1) The changes in conditions of service have actually taken place

2) The savings have actually been achieved in each individual employment(eg if primary and second level teachers don’t agree cost saving measures in schools, they will not have pay cuts restored)

3) Review dates will be in Spring each year beginning in 2011 but this is not the date for restoration of a proportion of the pay cut

A mechanism along the lines of the current Performance Verification group will be established now called the Implementation Group

This will lead to employment contracts and other changes being renegotiated with the gun of non-restoration of pay cuts and further pay cuts to the head of the unions and with management in the driving seat

Paddy Healy , Chair,
National Public Services Alliance‏
086-4183732
paddy.healy@eircom.net

author by Impact Manpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2010 22:31Report this post to the editors

Paddy, unfortunately, if you or the National Public Services Alliance‏ had a shred of credibility the union leadership wouldn’t feel so sure of their position that they can sell out their members so blatantly. The sad fact of this deal is that if the union leadership had accepted the pay cuts and not gone in negotiations their members would be better off. I can’t wait to hear radical Jack explain this sell out to his members.

author by Des Derwinpublication date Wed Mar 31, 2010 19:15Report this post to the editors

It is hard to know where to begin a rant on this dreadful deal. I won't and instead want to point to four external and macro consequences. Four consequences of the deal for all workers, including private sector workers, and for the public at large, especially the poorest part of it.

(The details of the deal itself can be viewed at http://www.siptu.ie/campaigns/PUBLICSERVICEAGREEMENT201...2014/
A critical response from Paddy Healy and the National Public Sector Alliance has already been posted on this thread.)

1. The deal takes no account of the non-pay, non-industrial elements of the budget(s): the cuts in social welfare, community funding, hospital budgets, health services as they affect patients, etc., etc. Where is the union stand on these - without hyperbole, cruel -cuts and why has "trust" and "peace" returned while they remain in place?!

2. The core of the deal is the facilitation, through 'transformation' of a reduction in the number of public sector jobs. A reduction of 17,000 has been spoken of. If the the loss is even half that the question remains: in the midst of mass and growing unemployement, with no prospect of the private sector providing net new jobs in the foreseeable future, should not every single public sector job be precious and defended tooth and nail? Rather than bartered - no, thrown - away?! This deal is going to directly increase unemployment. And besides, less public servants surely must mean further disimproved public services.

3. Following from the last point on job numbers, and also from the stated tactical aim of the ICTU negotiators to reduce the overall public service pay bill, the deal is deflationary. That is, it is against another stated policy of the ICTU, that the response to the crisis should not be deflationary but stimulatory.

4. The cuts sanctified by the deal and the wider budget cuts amount to a transfer from public sector workers and the poor to the banks. The announcement of the deal on Bail Out Tuesday, on the same day as the announcement of the first NAMA figure of €8.5 billion and of the recapitalisation figure of €21.8 billion, was an unfortunate coincidence for its PR .

author by Civil Servantpublication date Thu Apr 01, 2010 00:42Report this post to the editors

Joe Higgins MEP and Finn Geaney of the TUI were on last night's VB show on TV3 to discuss this calamitous "deal". They both did well and the discussion will have clarified the issue beyond doubt for any public service workers watching.

Interestingly, Browne said he had invited several trade union bureaucrats on the show to explain why they had negotiated such a climbdown. Only Eoin Ronanyne of the CPSU had accepted.

Ronayne had just been through a CPSU executive meeting at which every member had expressed opposition to the soft brown mess the bureaucrats had delivered - so he could do nothing but agree with Joe and Finn! The scene had a certain comic charm but that charm will be lost on the herd of bureaucrats who now fear for their jobs.

Three times the bureaucrats have gone to discuss our pay with the Government (the pre-pensions levy talks, the pre-paycuts talks and the talks leading to this shambles). Three times they have failed us.

Let's hope union members are now realising (a) the need to fire these clowns and (b) the need to stop talking with the Government and to start meaningful strike action.

author by Des Derwinpublication date Thu Apr 01, 2010 16:44Report this post to the editors

These are unusual days. Today is 1st of April and I'm not entirely sure I'm not being taken in by the most elaborarte April Fool's spoof I've ever encountered. Today, two days after 30th March, Bail Out Tuesday, the ICTU has published a new document or pamphlet, dated April 2010, entitled, wait for it: 'Shifting the Burden: Why the Government wants to load the cost of the collapse onto the less well off and why their plan will just make things worse'. It is beautifully designed and magnificently present in digital format at:

http://www.ictu.ie/publications/fulllist/shifting-the-b...embed

The Summary begins:
“In the latter half of 2009, the Government formulated a plan to deal with the economic crisis. Key elements of that plan were unveiled on Budget Day in December. But there are parts of the plan they won't reveal in public because, at its core, lies a determination to load the full cost of the collapse onto working people and the poor. Be they wage earners, pensioners or social welfare recipients, their pockets will be picked to finance the 'recovery'.”

Eh, hello? Would that part of the plan have been revealed in Croke Park on 30th March and shouldn't Congress be publishing an explanation entitled: 'Shifting the Burden: Why the ICTU wants to load the cost of the collapse onto the less well off and why their plan will just make things worse'?!!!

It's Holy Thursday too. Enough already with the analogies!

(I’m sure the document is full of terrific information and arguments and fair dues, but really, when people ignore their own propaganda!)

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