Higher civil servants reject Croke Park deal

Members in 7 public service trade unions have now voted to reject the proposed new Croke Park agreement.

Members in 7 public service trade unions have now voted to reject the proposed new Croke Park agreement. Two unions representing building and construction personnel in the public service have become the first to accept the proposed deal.

Four trade unions said today that their members had voted to oppose the agreement. They were the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU), the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT)s, the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants (AHCPS) and the Union of Construction Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT).

Members of BATU which represents bricklayers, carpenters and stonemasons supported the proposed agreement as did members of the plasterers’ union, OPATSI.

Over 86 per cent of members of the CPSU, which represents lower-paid civil servants voted to reject the deal, with 13.3 per cent in favour.

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Members of the IFUT , which represent lecturers in the third level education sector, rejected the new Croke Park proposals by a margin of three to one. A total of 704 members voted against the proposals with 235 voting in favour

IFUT general secretary Mike Jennings said his union would be writing to the public service committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to say it would not be bound by any decision by it to ratify the proposed new deal following a s cheduled meeting on Wednesday.

Around 85 per cent of members of the AHCPS who voted in its ballot rejected the proposed ne w deal. It said 86 per cent of its 2,650 members participated in the ballot.

Virtually all members of the AHCPS would be hit by the proposed pay cuts for staff earning more than €65,000 under the proposed new Croke Park deal.

The general secretary of the AHCPS Dave Thomas said: “In their overwhelming rejection of the Croke Park extension our members are sending a very clear message to Government - that the pay cuts being proposed are not fair or equitable. AHCPS members have already absorbed a series of cuts in recent years, and our membership feels that the raft of cuts proposed is not proportionate or fair, and simply goes too far. “

“Furthermore, recent heavy handed interventions by Government have only served to strengthen the 'NO' vote delivered here today by AHCPS members.”

UCATT, which represents craft workers mainly in local authorities and the health service said its members went against the recommendation of its executive and voted by 62 per cent to 38 per cent against the proposed deal.

UCATT national secretary Jim Moore said members were fed up with austerity. The union represents around 2,000 staff in the public service. It will now be casting its 20 votes on the public services committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions against the Croke Park II agreement when it considers the issue of ratification of the deal onWednesday .

Members of BATU, which represents bricklayers, carpenters and stonemasons, voted in favour of the proposed deal by 72 per cent to 28 per cent.

Members of the Operative Plasterers and Allied Trade Society of Ireland (OPATSI) voted by a margin of two to one in favour of the deal.

OPATSI has about 50 members in the public service, working mainly for the Department of Defence, the Office of Public Works, local authorities and the HSE.

It has three votes to cast at the meeting of the public service committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions when it meets on Wednesday to consider ratification of the Croke Park II agreement.

OPATSI general secretary Billy Wall said his members feared that if the agreement was rejected, the Government would seek compulsory redundancies and they would be first in the firing line.

OPATSI members were covered by a side letter agreed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in tandem with the Croke Park agreement which would see anual leave for some craft workers outside of Dublin brought up to a new national standardised level of 25 days per year.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent