Public Sector Workers Deserve A Better Deal




Deal means lower starting rates will be permanent compared to pre-recession levels.

The government are claiming a new deal will end pay inequality in the public sector.

In reality the proposals are piecemeal and will mean new workers in the public sector will continue to start on lower rates than those who joined before 2011.

Those cuts were introduced as an emergency measure due to the financial crisis 10 years ago! Together with changes to pensions and work practices it means temporary emergency cuts will become permanent across the public sector. At a time of rocketing rents and increases in cost of living for workers, this deal keeps permanent low starting salaries for new workers.

The attacks on the public sector in 2010 helped lead to more attacks on pay and rights in the private sector. Precarious, low paid and bogus self-employment has grown massively in Ireland over the last ten years. If the public sector accepts low starting salaries as permanent it means the private sector will continue to do likewise.

The deal offers post 2011 new entrants a “jump” of two points in the pay scale, in years 4 and 8, but this means even these increases will be delayed until workers reach those points. Some workers will not achieve full pay equality until 2026. Even then they will still not regain other allowances or pension rights.

For some  like teachers it means a loss of over 4,000 euro in the first year compared to the pre austerity rates. Over ten years it will see  a loss of over 14,000 euro.

The proposals will not deal with the crisis in the health system and nursing; no concession is made for the inability to recruit and retain nurses. The deal sees some gains for a minority while leaving many behind and institutionalising low pay for new entrants.

Over 42% of all public sector workers will see no improvement in the salaries until next year, while 22% will get nothing in 2020

The same workers will be permanently on poorer pensions while paying more in contributions.

They will also continue to face discrimination compared to other workers by not getting allowances for additional qualifications worth 1,236 Euro a year.

The Governments own figures show what a sham this deal is; they had claimed that full equality would cost 200 million euro, but admit this deal will cost only 27 million euro next year.

At a time when they are throwing tax breaks and incentives at landlords and developers worth hundreds of millions of Euro this deal in as insult to workers who made huge sacrifices to bail out banks and developers.

The draconian Fempi legislation, which the Government used to impose pay and pension cuts on the public sector remains in operation. Farcically the Government still claim there is a financial emergency in order to justify renewing the act each year. This law allows the Government to threaten public sector unions and deny pay rises to any group who oppose deals like this

Public sector workers should demand;

  • Full pay equality now.
  • Scrapping the two lowest points on the pay scale that were introduced as an “emergency”
  • Restore pension rights and allowances.
  • A new deal for nursing that will retain and recruit staff to the health service
  • Scrap the Fempi “emergency” legislation.