Croke Park ballot papers sent to Impact members

Union says its decision to approve deal was not taken lightly

Shay Cody, general secretary of Impact, with the  draft agreement  following talks on Croke Park II  at Ballsbridge,  Dublin, last evening. He said the deal that members were being asked to vote on was “without a doubt the most challenging proposition put to public servants in living memory”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Shay Cody, general secretary of Impact, with the draft agreement following talks on Croke Park II at Ballsbridge, Dublin, last evening. He said the deal that members were being asked to vote on was “without a doubt the most challenging proposition put to public servants in living memory”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Mon, Mar 25, 2013, 06:00

Thousands of public sector workers have been issued with ballot papers on the Croke Park II deal by Impact, the State’s largest public sector trade union.

The union, which represents almost 60,000 members, has already called for a Yes vote. Its general secretary Shay Cody said the deal that members were being asked to vote on was “without a doubt the most challenging proposition put to public servants in living memory”.

He said the decision by the union’s executive to accept the proposals was not taken lightly, but the elected leadership believed the proposals represented the best package that could be achieved through negotiation.

Members preparing to vote should ask if it was possible to achieve something less painful and more palatable if the current deal was rejected. “In our judgement, it isn’t possible,” he said. “Nothing was left at the negotiating table, and the Government has made it clear it intends to reduce the public service pay bill by €1 billion. In the absence of an agreement, they have also made it clear that it will legislate to achieve this reduction.”

If the current proposals were passed, Mr Cody said the savings being sought by management would be achieved in a manner that best protected the lower paid. “Protection against compulsory redundancy will remain and most public servants will avoid a pay cut.”

The union’s priority was to ensure that members fully understood the proposals and what they meant for them before they voted. “Before members cast their votes, it is also vital that they understand the alternatives. Our members are better protected within an agreement.”

The State’s largest trade union, Siptu, is also supporting the deal. Unions opposing the deal include Unite, the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland and the Civil Public and Services Union.