CPSU calls for restoration of salaries for lower paid workers

Friday 11 April 2014 22.54
The CPSU wants the Government to restore pay for those earning less than €35,000
The CPSU wants the Government to restore pay for those earning less than €35,000

A union representing lower paid civil servants is to mount a campaign for restoration of pay after cuts imposed under the Croke Park and Haddington Road Agreements.

Civil Public and Services Union General Secretary Eoin Ronayne said the take-home pay of members had been cut by around 18% over five years.

Those earning below €35,000 should be prioritised for pay increases, he said.

Mr Ronayne also warned the Government that angry public service workers would be making their views known in the elections in May.

The CPSU's 12,000 low paid civil servant members are angry over pay cuts, the pension levy, a temporary increment freeze and extra unpaid hours imposed under Croke Park and Haddington Road.

Mr Ronayne outlined examples of significant pay reductions for individual workers.

He said that the take-home earnings of an entry-level clerical officer had fallen from €24,000 in 2008 to around €21,600 when pay cuts, the pension levy and universal social charge were taken into account.

Mr Ronayne noted that they were also working extra hours, and had their increments deferred.

He noted that even Germany now recognised the need to stimulate growth by increasing public sector pay by 3% this year and 2.4% in 2015.

He urged the Government to follow the German example, saying that "if it's okay for Merkel, then it's also right for the pixie heads".

The president of the union earlier accused the Government of reneging on a promise in the Croke Park Agreement to restore the pay of those earning less than €35,000.

Opening the union's annual conference in Galway, Joan Byrne described the Haddington Road Agreement as the "Haddington Hijack", saying it had a devastating impact on the terms and conditions of members.

She acknowledged that under the HRA, public servants earning over €65,000 had endured cuts in their pay.

However, she said it was grossly unfair that lower paid workers had to take an equivalent cut through increased working hours and other changes.

She accused the Government of having no respect for lower paid public servants.

CPSU members would show Taoiseach Enda Kenny and their colleagues the same contempt at the next elections, she warned.

She said it was urgent that they set out their demands in relation to the restoration of pay and the resumption of normal pay bargaining.

The Government should consign the "draconian" Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation to the dustbin of history, she added.

Ms Byrne said they did not want a return to what she called the "so-called social partnership arrangements", which she said had suited the higher paid and better-off during the boom.

She also criticised the erosion of family-friendly policies in the public service and pledged to oppose outsourcing.