Sustaining Croke Park Agreement will be 'challenging'

Thursday 29 November 2012 16.55
PJ Fitzpatrick said more fundamental reform in the public service would be necessary
PJ Fitzpatrick said more fundamental reform in the public service would be necessary

The head of the Croke Park Implementation Body has warned that the Croke Park Agreement will have to deliver accelerated change and savings if it is to be sustainable.

In a speech at the National College of Ireland, PJ Fitzpatrick outlined reform priorities including more efficient rosters for nurses and hospital consultants in the health sector.

He said a key issue for the agreement would be to support achieving the Government's target for cutting public service staff numbers to 282,500 by 2014 - which he described as "challenging".

He said further and more fundamental reform would be necessary to ensure services are maintained to the greatest extent possible as staff numbers continue to fall.

Mr Fitzpatrick called for the rollout of performance management systems where not already in place and said existing systems should be strengthened in other areas, including the civil service.

He said there was no room for complacency or resting on laurels and called for elimination of outdated working arrangements, more use of redeployment, greater use of shared services.

He also called for the extension of working hours and the opening hours of public offices.

Mr Fitzpatrick also outlined increased pressure on public services, noting increases in population, Live Register Figures and medical card holders.

He stressed the importance of active engagement of top management in all sectors to ensure delivery of the agreement.

Government has reneged on promises - CPSU

The Civil Public and Services Union which represents lower paid civil servants has accused the Government of reneging on pledges to restore pay cuts for lower paid public servants - and pledged to resist further reductions in pay and conditions for members.

Speaking after a meeting of the union's executive council today, General Secretary Eoin Ronayne highlighted a provision in the current Croke Park Agreement that if savings were secured, workers earning below €35,000 a year would see their pay cuts restored.

He said the Government had reneged on that commitment, despite the fact that members had already delivered substantial savings and changes in work practices.

He said the Executive Council had agreed that the union should take part in talks on extending the Croke Park Agreement.

However, he warned that it would be very difficult for lower paid workers to engage in the talks where a key element of the current agreement had not been considered - let alone delivered on.

He said it would be foolish in the extreme for the Government to think lower paid workers had more to give, and warned they should not presume agreement on changes that would impact on workers' disposal income such as extra hours or amendments to flexitime provisions.

He called for the Budget to place a greater burden on higher earners through a third tax band.

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