Trade unions to discuss continuation of talks on Croke Park extension

Wed, Jan 16, 2013, 00:00

Trade unions are to meet tomorrow afternoon to consider whether to continue with talks with the Government aimed at securing an extension to the Croke Park agreement.

This will follow presentations by public service management on proposals tomorrow morning for reforms in the different parts of the public service such as Civil Service, health, local authorities, education, Garda Síochána, Defence Forces and so on.

Unions are hoping management will elaborate on the radical proposals outlined in its opening statement on Monday.

In a note on its website last night, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said it was expected these presentations would clarify “whether the management agenda is, in any way, compatible with the public service unions’ position with regard to the protections (pay/compulsory redundancies) given under the Croke Park agreement”.

“The public sector unions have agreed to meet, collectively, on Thursday afternoon, to assess and analyse what the management will have said in the morning. This should allow a decision to be made as to whether the process can continue with any chance of an overall agreement emerging.

“In this context it is expected that Thursday’s deliberations will be important and will determine, at least in the short term, whether the overall process can continue.”

Siptu yesterday warned there would be no new agreement if the Government insisted it contained provision for compulsory redundancies.

Some unions representing staff who provide services on a round-the-clock basis similarly consider proposed cuts to premium pay rates to be a red-line issue.

Siptu vice-president Patricia King said opposition to compulsory redundancies was a “fundamental trade union position”.

“There will be no agreement with that in it.”

Management has not specifically referred to compulsory redundancies. However, it signalled that staff who did not accept suitable offers of redeployment could face an exit mechanism.

Among the proposals set out by management were pay cuts for some grades, increased working hours, the elimination of increments, a reduction in premium and overtime rates, and reforms to supervision and substitution payments for teachers.

Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors general secretary John Redmond said his organisation was shocked by the Government’s agenda.