Opposition to Croke Park II gathers pace


Opposition to the Croke Park II proposals on public pay is intensifying in the trade union movement ahead of a key meeting today of the Impact union, whose leadership supports the deal.

Two teaching unions and the largest Civil Service union declared yesterday that they would be advocating rejection of the new arrangements to their members.

Big challenge

While the unions in question are not large enough to block the deal, their stance shows that the Government faces a big challenge to secure a workable majority in favour of the new pact.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland, the Civil Public and Services Union and the Irish Federation of University Teachers each said last night that they will be recommending rejection of the deal in ballots of their members.

The CPSU leadership said the redeployment provisions in the new proposal would amount to “constructive” redundancy.

“The development is particularly worrying given a ruling by the Conciliation and Arbitration Board yesterday to allow the outsourcing of core clerical officer call centre work to the private sector in Revenue,” the CPSU said.

“The ruling means an additional €4.9 million of taxpayers’ money will now be handed over to private sector call centre operators while surplus clerical officers are available in different locations awaiting the assignment of new work.

“The CPSU members continue to be paid but now will fear redeployment up to 90km from their homes or [being] forced to take constructive redundancy under the new redeployment protocol, while new work which has become available in Revenue will be shipped out at extra cost to the taxpayer.”

Separately, the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland said it would be conducting a ballot but held off on issuing a recommendation to members pending “clarifications” on elements of the proposal.

The central executive committee of Impact, whose general secretary, Shay Cody, was a principal figure in the negotiation, meets today to discuss the proposal.

While the Dublin City Council branch of Impact voted by a show of hands to reject the meeting, trade union sources said this was not without precedent and added that other branches voted to reject the first Croke Park deal which Impact ultimately backed.

Impact’s eventual stance on the new proposal will be crucial given it represents more than 63,000 workers, a membership which has the capacity to swing the vote.

Mr Cody and other Impact officials acknowledge the new proposal will result in a loss of income for some, but argue that they were successful in the talks in reducing the severity of some of the Government’s main proposals.

The Impact meeting today will be followed by a meeting next week of Siptu, the largest union in the State. Although Siptu’s stance will also be critical to the fate of the proposed deal, other meetings today will demonstrate opposition to it among gardaí, nurses and prison officers.

Frontline services

The 24/7 Frontline Services Alliance will conduct its meeting today at Croke Park. Roisin Farrelly, spokeswoman for the TUI, said the union’s executive would recommend rejection of the deal in a ballot.