Independent Media Centre Ireland

Ictu, Most Unions Silent On Public Sector Pension Cuts‏

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | opinion/analysis author Tuesday December 14, 2010 14:42author by Paddy Healyauthor phone

Only IFUT and TUI proposed doing anything about Public Sector Pension Cuts. INTO and INMO mentioned the cuts in statements. There was no mention of the cuts on Websites of the following bodies: ICTU, SIPTU, ASTI, CPSU, PSEU, IMPACT. Union responses are pasted below.

While INTO, ASTI, TUI are running a campaign against the pension rip-off of new public servants announced in the Budget, there is no mention of this issue by the silent unions above. It is believed that ICTU has refused to oppose the new “pension Scheme” which is in effect a tax because the individual gets less out than was contributed (Trident Report to Teaching Unions). There is no proposal by any union to do anything about the pay cut for new entrants. This decision breaches a whole range of existing industrial relations agreements and agreed circular letters.

Was there a Secret Deal between Government and the General Secretaries Group called ICTU?

It is already widely believed that the government intends to take our conditions of service under the Croke Park Deal and to cut our pay again when this process is completed. The Review of the Croke Park Deal in conjunction with IMF/EU in 9 months time which was recently announced lends credence to this belief.

Minister Lenihan met an ICTU delegation before the Budget. He assured them that there would not be a new cut in public service pay in the budget.

Was there a quid pro quo? Did ICTU agree a whole range of “savings” at the expense of public servants. No action of any kind was proposed at the mass demonstration sponsored by ICTU.

In addition to the matters mentioned above several other budgetary measures reduced the public service pay bill as I pointed out yesterday.

Salaries—Additional Reductions in Public Sector Remuneration

In addition to the increase in taxes on incomes generally, the reduction in tax relief on pension contributions and the abolition of the PRSI ceiling which were imposed in Budget 2011, special impositions on public service salaries were contained in the small print.

“Employee PRSI on pension contributions

From 1 January 2011, employee contributions to occupational pension schemes and other pension arrangements (includes Pension Levy-PH) will be subject to employee PRSI and the Universal Social Charge. The PRSI change will be legislated for in the Social Welfare Bill”-Department of Finance, Budget 2011

The pension levy is effectively being increased by forcing public servants to pay PRSI and Universal Social Charge on the levy . All employees must now pay PRSI and UniversalSC on pension contributions.

“Modified PRSI rates (certain public servants) increased to 4% on incomes in excess of €75,036” Department of Finance

Full PRSI on the portion of income above 75,000 Euro (previous ceiling) has been imposed on all public servants including those employed before 1995 who had been paying a reduced rate and had minimal entitlements. Will new entitlements accrue?

Tax relief on dues to Trade Unions and professional bodies have been abolished.

Unions on Budget 2011

No Mention of Pension CUT on Website by the following bodies: ICTU, SIPTU, ASTI, CPSU, PSEU, IMPACT.

IMPACT Statement budget 2011

“IMPACT trade union today (Tuesday) said the budget was a recipe for continued financial and economic failure, which would disproportionately hit the living standards of those on low and middle incomes.

News Content:

Pledging to campaign to resist cuts in the minimum wage and social welfare, IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said Ireland needed an alternative approach that put jobs and economic stimulation at the centre of economic policy.

“By taking yet more money from those on low and middle incomes – be they workers, welfare recipients or pensioners – the Government is guaranteeing that we won’t grow out of the financial crisis. Instead, the Government’s vicious circle of economic decline will continue as consumer demand falls further, creating more unemployment and further declines in tax revenue.”

Mr Cody also attacked the decision to raise taxes through bands and levies rather than headline tax rates. “This is the most regressive way of increasing taxes as it hits those on lower incomes relatively harder. It is a political decision to load the extra tax burden on ordinary people instead of those on higher incomes,” he said.

Mr Cody said cuts to the minimum wage and social welfare were additional attacks on low income families, as was the decision to further cut pay for new public service staff. “IMPACT and other unions will strongly resist the cuts in the minimum wage and social welfare which, coupled with an additional tax burden, will impoverish tens of thousands. Meanwhile, pay for new public servants – predominantly those on the lowest pay - will now be almost 25% lower than it was less than two years ago,” he said.

He rejected ill-informed criticism that public servants had been shielded from the effects of the budget. “Public service pay has already been cut by over 14% in less than two years. And the tax changes in today’s budget will hit public servants in the exact same way as everyone else, just as they did in 2009 and 2010,” he said.—Shay Cody

INMO Bare Mention by Liam Doran in webcast on website
INTO Budget 2011-----Bare Mention by Shela Nunan

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Statement by Sheila Nunan, General Secretary, Irish National Teachers' Organisation on Budget 2011.

Ordinary citizens shoulder cost of bank bail out

The INTO said today's budget landed the bill for the bank bail-out firmly on the backs of ordinary men women and children.

"Nothing and no one has been spared," said INTO General Secretary Sheila Nunan. "The cost of bailing out the banks has been spread from the cradle to the grave."

"The budget is neither fair nor equitable," said Ms Nunan. "Ordinary tax payers such as teachers are seeing another significant immediate loss of income while property investors will continue to benefit until 2014."

She described the prospect of the budget reversing the country's economic downturn as slim. "It is a recipe for economic disaster. Taking even more money from the pay of ordinary workers will kill any prospect of growth, the key ingredient of national recovery."

The INTO said new teachers will see a reduction of up to 14% in starting salaries. Retired teachers above 12,000 per annum will see a loss in their pensions.

"Cuts to children’s allowances, minimum wage, unemployment benefit will really hurt disadvantaged families," said Ms Nunan. "At the same time services on which they depend will suffer. Cuts to school funding, increases to school transport and a reduction in teacher numbers will all compromise education services."

The marginalised have been kicked not once but twice by the budget.


TUI seeking Legal AdviceTUI seeks legal advice on pension cut

(30 Nov 2010)

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) is seeking legal advice on the cut to public service pensions announced as part of the Government’s four year austerity plan last week.

Union President Bernie Ruane described the measures as ‘a complete breach of trust’.

“Teachers and lecturers entered into a contract with their employers when they commenced employment. This contract has now been breached."

"We have taken numerous calls from pensioners who are very distressed at what they perceive as a complete breach of trust. They are particularly abhorred that amounts above just €12,000 will be targeted."

In most cases these would have been part time teachers or those who joined the profession later in their careers who would not have built up anywhere near even half of full provision. In the current economic climate, many are already struggling to meet their financial commitments.

"We are taking legal advice on this issue in terms of the status of the contract members ‘bought’ into and what right to recourse they may now have.”

IFUT Reduction of Public Service Pensions

The debate on the legislation which will reduce Public Service Pensions (and the Minimum Wage) will take place on Thursday, 9 December and the vote will be on Friday, 10 December sometime between 11:00 and 13:00.

The General Secretary urges all IFUT members to make their views on this legislation known to their local Dáil and Seanad Éireann representatives.

The text of the bill is available here. An explanatory memorandum is available here. A list of all TDs on a constituency by constituency basis is available here.

Paddy Healy


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