Union to direct civil servants to reject proposals
The union representing higher civil and public servants is to recommend that its members reject the proposed new Croke Park agreement in a ballot.
The executive of the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants decided to oppose the package at a meeting yesterday.
The union is the first to urge members to reject the proposed new deal which was brokered by the Labour Relations Commission following talks between unions and Government representatives over the last six weeks.
Association general secretary Dave Thomas said the decision was not taken lightly.
Recommending a No
“However, given the scale of the pay cuts proposed we have no other choice but to strongly recommend a No vote on the part of our members. The current proposals follow on a range of cuts already absorbed by AHCPS members in recent years.”
He said his union’s members have already had pay reductions of 15-17 per cent before tax and universal social charge increases are taken into account, in addition to extra working hours.
“There are other options available to the Government, not least in the context of taxation.
“However these options have been steadfastly resisted,” he said.
“Against a background of ongoing cuts and general erosion in take-home pay and conditions, the current proposed cuts are simply a step too far.”
Separately Mike Jennings, the general secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) described the outcome of the Croke Park talks as “deeply disappointing”. IFUT is to hold an emergency meeting today to consider the proposals.
Mr Jennings said: “University staff face proposals for significant wage cuts. These proposed further cuts take no account whatever of major increases in productivity combined with substantial reductions in funding, staffing and wages throughout the university sector over the past number of years.”
He said staff numbers had been cut dramatically while remaining personnel were expected to cope with the highest number of students in the history of the State.
“It is particularly unsatisfactory that the Department of Education failed to respond to requests by IFUT for clarification and commitments in relation to compulsory redundancies at third level.
“As a result, IFUT will be forced to continue to fight each of these on a case-by-case basis, as we have done successfully in TCD in the past.”
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has confirmed it is to put the draft agreement to a ballot. The union’s executive is due to meet later today to discuss the full document.
Shay Cody, the general secretary of Impact, has said his union’s executive will also meet later this week. Branch meetings will then be convened.
Mr Cody, who is also chairman of the public services committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, told RTÉ last night the unions had succeeded in removing unacceptable proposals from the Croke Park discussions.
“I think the Government got, in financial terms, what they wanted,” he said.
“From our point of view, I think we’ve done it in a way that is a lot fairer than the original proposals. But the only reason we were in this discussion is that the public finances are still in major deficit.
“We didn’t get the growth that was going to solve this problem and frankly make this problem go away.”
Meanwhile, senior figures in Siptu, the country’s largest union, are to take a pay cut in line with those set out in the proposals for a new Croke Park agreement.
In a statement, Siptu president Jack O’Connor, vice-president Patricia King and general secretary Joe O’Flynn said: “It is our view that people on higher incomes should have made a contribution through taxation in Budget 2013.
“We have specifically argued for a levy on those earning in excess of €100,000 per annum.
“We will be taking the pay reduction as per the proposals in the document prepared by the Labour Relations Commission.”