Staff and pay cuts could net 35% of savings target
Talks:An acceleration in the planned cuts to staffing levels in the public service, facilitated by the provision of additional working hours as well as a pay cut for higher earners, could contribute over 35 per cent of the Government’s planned reductions in the public service pay bill, it has emerged.
The largest public service trade union, Impact, told members yesterday it believed the gap between management and the unions on the provision of additional working hours would narrow.
At the moment public service management has sought staff to work an additional hour per day.
However, Impact has said it will not recommend any deal on that basis.
In a bulletin to members Impact said any agreement on additional working hours would enable an acceleration of planned reductions in staff numbers.
“Together with a “higher pay contribution”, this could be expected to generate over €350 million of the required savings.”
The union also told members the Government had again warned that in the absence of an agreement it would impose payroll savings of €1 billion.
“In this circumstance, management revealed it could apply “focused” legislation, as opposed to “one size fits all” measures like the 2010 pay cuts and the 2009 pension levy.”
This is understood to be a suggestion that management could legislate to allow it to cut premium rates or allowances rather than putting in place an across-the-board pay cut for all staff.
Meanwhile, the union representing lower-paid civil servants has said that anything that came out of the current talks on an extension to the Croke Park agreement that involved people having to endure additional costs will be unacceptable.
Speaking after talks with public service management yesterday the general secretary of the Civil Public and Services Union Eoin Ronayne said it was very difficult to see how progress could be made that his members could live with.
However, he said an outcome was still too early to call.
Mr Ronayne said talks had centred on management proposals for staff to work additional hours and how this would impact on overtime and on overtime rates.
However he said no detail was provided in concrete terms and that there would be further discussions tomorrow.
He said from his union’s perspective “additional hours are fraught with difficulty”.
“Additional hours will mean our people will face additional costs sometime involving childcare but also in other domestic care arrangements.
“People work because they have flexibility. If the flexibility is going to be changed then we have great difficulty. There will be increased costs. Increased costs for our members are effectively a pay cut.”
Mr Ronayne said proposals to change existing flexitime working arrangements, which public service management are expected to table as part of the current process, were not considered today.