Public sector pay cuts and restoration

 

Sir, – Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Pascal Donohoe has told an industrial relations conference that “previously-agreed reform and efficiency measures such as the additional unpaid hours which staff are obliged to work remained critical to meet increased demands for frontline services” and that the “expectations of public servants to see their pay start to grow again” depend on productivity and efficiency gains in the public service (Home News, March 9th).

This is an entirely distorted account of the changes in public sector pay and conditions during the recession. The changes in working hours were imposed by the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Fempi) legislation, not agreed, and the annual renewal of Fempi proves this. There is no expectation of pay growth in the public service, rather employees want to see their pay gradually restored and the successive pay cuts since 2009, again imposed by Fempi, slowly reversed.

Whether you support or reject restoration of the 2009 standards the imposed cuts in pay and conditions should be described in those terms. Pascal Donohoe’s account is, of course, designed to paint any campaign by public servants for restoration of their contracted terms as unreasonable and selfish. – Yours, etc,

DONAL McGRATH,

Greystones, Co Wicklow.