Kenny hints compulsory redundancies could arise if no agreement on public service pay

Teachers say no basis for deal that focuses only on cutting public servants’ pay

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said protection from the threat of compulsory redundancies was an inherent part of the Croke Park II agreement.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said protection from the threat of compulsory redundancies was an inherent part of the Croke Park II agreement.

Thu, Apr 25, 2013, 06:00

The prospect of compulsory redundancies in the public service will arise in the absence of agreement on pay cuts, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Mr Kenny said protection from the threat of compulsory redundancies was an inherent part of the Croke Park II agreement. “However, if there is no agreement there is no protection – that is the point,” he told Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

“It is absolutely true to say that if there is no agreement, there will be no such inherent protection.”

Mr Kenny said all of the trade unions in the process had been invited to re-engage with the Labour Relations Commission to find an agreement, but he repeated the Government’s commitment to achieving savings of €300 million in the public service pay bill this year.


Savings imperative
“The savings must be achieved. As I stated, the door of the Government is always open to the ideas and expressions of the trade unions. There is an important process in place, as the Government has recognised. It has asked the commission to engage with the trade unions to determine how best this might be achieved. It has to be achieved.”

Separately, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said it was hoped the intervention of chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey in the wake of the rejection of the proposed agreement would result in a negotiated outcome .

It said it remained the aim of the Government “that the protections which have applied to public servants in respect of compulsory redundancy remain in place going forward. It is hoped that a negotiated outcome will emerge from the process announced yesterday in order to ensure this.”

Earlier yesterday, Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte appeared to rule out the prospect of compulsory redundancies when speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland .

He said the Government’s position was clear in that €300 million had to be saved on the public service pay and pensions bill this year and €1 billion by 2015.

However Mr Rabbitte appeared to indicate the Government was open to compromise on how these savings could come about.

“I would like to think that the Government is not wedded to the fact that it must be done one way as compared to another within that overall rubric of €300 million coming out of the public pay bill,” he said.

“There are always ways in industrial relations where you can tweak things this way or tweak things that way or do things slightly differently.”


‘Different outcome’
Meanwhile, the union representing national teachers said there was no point in the Government bringing forward the same formula for talks with trade unions “and expecting a different outcome”.

The INTO said there was “ no basis for a deal that will focus exclusively on cutting the pay of public servants”.