Civil servants' group urges members to reject pay deal

Wednesday 27 February 2013 15.22
If the deal is agreed by union members, the new agreement will run until 2016
If the deal is agreed by union members, the new agreement will run until 2016

The Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants is to recommend a No vote on the proposals for a new Croke Park Agreement.

Public service unions are currently preparing to ballot their members on the proposed deal brokered yesterday by the Labour Relations Commission.

The AHCPS executive committee took the decision at a meeting today.

It decided that on the basis of what was on the table, and cuts already imposed on Government employees, they could not support the proposals.

The association represents around 2,500 higher grade public servants.

The new proposals will see pay and pension cuts for higher earners and additional working hours and reduced premium and Sunday payments in various sectors of the public service.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has appealed to public sector workers to "swallow hard" and accept the agreement.

It has also been clarified that the new deal does not contain any reference to compulsory redundancies.

If the deal is agreed by members, the new agreement will run until 2016.

Unions adamant on compulsory redundancies - Cody

Chairman of the Public Services Committee of Irish Congress of Trade Unions Shay Cody said that unions are adamant there would be no compulsory redundancies as part of a new public service deal.

He said compulsory redundancies had been part of management's original proposals, which he described as "fairly simple and crude".

"They wanted to have the option of compulsory redundancy in certain circumstances... so what we did was first of all, was we said there was no circumstances at all that there could be an agreement that provided for compulsory redundancy.

"It wasn't necessary; the public service could manage redeployment and in fact has managed that very successfully up to now."

Mr Cody said unions had succeeded in removing a number of proposals from the table, and that members would now have to consider the proposals "in the round".

"I think the Government got, in financial terms, what they wanted. From our point of view I think we've done it in a way that is a lot fairer than the original proposals.

"But the only reason we were in this discussion is that the public finances are still in major deficit, we didn't get the growth that was going to solve this problem and frankly make this problem go away."

"Because of that it's not just public servants who are going to be grappling with these difficult issues... as we know there's pressure on the taxation front."

As General Secretary of IMPACT, Mr Cody said the union's executive would meet later this week and would convene the branches the following week.

He believes the union executive will then make its recommendation on the deal to members.

Cuts to public service pensions

Up to €20m is expected to be saved by cuts to public service pensions in line with the LRC pay cuts.

The document states that separate to the agreement, the Government intends to impose cuts on all pensions above €32,500 per year.

The cuts will range from a minimum of 2%, up to 5% for those on pensions of €100,000 a year or more.

This move will require separate legislation to implement.

The cuts would mean former taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen would see their €150,000 per annum pensions reduced by €7,500 a year.

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