Unions say Government must acknowledge Croke Park proposals dead
Impact says it will not accept worse package to appease unions that rejected deal
Eoin Ronayne, general secretary of the Civil Public and Services Union, said any new engagement with the Government had to based on working from “a blank page” and could not be simply about “tweaking” the proposals that were rejected. Photograph: Eric Luke
Any re-engagement by the Government with unions in relation to public service pay must be on the basis that the Croke Park II proposals which were rejected earlier this week are dead, two public service trade unions have said.
The general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Liam Doran, said any new contact between the Government and public service union must go back to basic principles.
The general secretary of the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU), Eoin Ronayne, said any new engagement with the Government had to based on working from “a blank page” and could not be simply about “tweaking” the proposals that were rejected.
The CPSU conference next week is expected to debate a motion that it will ballot for industrial action if the Government unilaterally imposes pay cuts.
Meanwhile the trade union Impact told its members that in the short term, the Government’s most likely move in the wake of the rejection of the Croke Park II proposals would be an attempt to clarify or finesse the existing package.
However, it said the scope for this was extremely limited.
In a bulletin for members, Impact said: “The proposed deal negotiated earlier this year was itself a delicately constructed package that sought to raise a broadly proportionate contribution from all groups within the public service. Broadly speaking, if €1 billion is still to be saved, you can only make things more acceptable for one group by making it less acceptable for another.”
“A clarification that can win support from other unions would be welcome. But as Impact made clear in the media yesterday, we won’t accept a situation where Impact members face a worse package in order to appease members of other unions who have voted to reject.”
Impact said in such a scenario there was no certainty that the unions that rejected the deal would change their view if the proposals were finessed.
Impact said if no majority emerged in favour of a clarified agreement, public service staff would likely find themselves having the Government impose “similar or worse cuts to pay and working conditions without agreement”.
“This would also mean the collapse of the existing [Croke Park] agreement, leaving the path clear for management to seek to impose anything from compulsory redundancies and increased working hours to cuts in increments, flexitime arrangements and other working conditions. “
Impact said it believed sustained industrial action would be the only way to protect staff in these circumstances.
Meanwhile Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said the Government had not ruled out a reworking of the Croke Park II deal. However, it was clear that savings had to be found from the pay and pensions bill.
The PSEU annual delegate conference in White’s Hotel, Wexford, accepted an emergency motion tabledby the union executive. The motion urged members to oppose any unilateral Government decision to impose pay cuts through legislation.