Confusion ends as Taoiseach rules out renegotiation of Croke Park deal
It has also highlighted that nearly 12,000 staff have left State employment in the last year or so, thousands of others have been redeployed and services have been maintained with no industrial unrest.
However, no matter how many reforms the Government may say have been achieved there will be those who will say that the price is too high and that private sector workers have had to undertake dramatic changes to work practices without any similar guarantees on their pay or job security.
THE CROKE PARK AGREEMENT AND PUBLIC SERVICE REFORM
WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED
* The number of staff employed in the public service fell by 17,500 in the first two years of the Croke Park agreement and by more than 11,000 in the last year alone.
* The State’s pay bill has fallen by more than €800 million in the first two years of the agreement, mainly as a result of staff departing.
* The Government estimates that overall it will make savings of €3.3 billion on its pay bill by 2015, net of increases in the cost of providing pensions.
* Annual leave arrangements across the public service have been standardised.
* New sick leave arrangements across the public service have been agreed and are to be implemented.
* New standardised working hours for staff in local authorities were agreed yesterday.
* Industrial peace has been maintained in the public service.
WHAT HAS NOT BEEN ACHIEVED
* Reform of the 800 allowances paid to staff in the public service is unlikely to reach the target of €75 million in savings this year. The plan to reform allowances goes to Cabinet tomorrow but is expected to mainly affect new entrants.
* No decision yet on the Government’s review of 46 additional quangos, which was scheduled to be announced in June.
* A deal on greater flexibilities and work practice changes for consultants proposed by the Minister for Health as an alternative to further pay cuts has not yet been agreed with representative organisations.
* A Government decision on the outsourcing of public services is not expected until next spring.
* Moves to pay staff in the Civil Service on a monthly basis, which have been strongly opposed by unions, are not expected until next spring.
WHAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY SEEK
* Deferral or suspension of payment of incremental pay increases as proposed by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, who said it could save between €170 million and €200 million a year.
* Changes to overtime and premium pay rates, which Minister for Health James Reilly suggested could be explored. These cost about €800 million in the health service.
* A longer working week for public servants. The Health Service Executive has floated the idea of staff working an additional two hours per week for no additional pay for a two- to three-year period.
* Scrapping of some overtime payments. The HSE has pointed to the payment of time and a sixth to some staff for working between 6pm and 8pm.
* Pension increases in future could be linked to inflation rather than pay rises for serving staff.