Proposed pay cuts 'a monstrous betrayal'

 

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said there is no point in TDs attempting to second guess the outcome of Croke Park agreement negotiations.

“The only matter of which we can be sure is that those discussions are under way.”

The Tánaiste was responding to People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who said the Government had claimed repeatedly that it was legally prevented from cutting the obscene pensions of former politicians and top civil servants.

“As we speak, however, the Government is moving to tear up an agreement made with public sector workers that was supposed to run until the middle of 2014, and is demanding further drastic cuts in pay and conditions from people who have already been hammered with cuts over the past four years.”

He said that even before the agreement public sector workers had lost 15-20 per cent of their pay in levies, cuts and the universal social charge. They had given back €1.5 billion in wages. Now, on top of that, the Government wanted a further €1 billion in cuts.

“Does the Tánaiste realise that the proposed cuts in premiums and allowances will mean a 10 per cent cut in pay for nurses, firefighters, gardaí and other public servants?”

It was “a monstrous betrayal” by Labour of the traditions of the party and its founder James Connolly.

Mr Gilmore said the Government respected the staff who worked in the public services: gardaí, nurses, those who worked in hospitals and schools, on the roads and cleared the drains.

That was why the Government had sat down with their representatives. “When the process of negotiation is completed, their representatives, their unions, will put the outcome of the discussions to a ballot of their members who will then decide democratically whether they want to accept it or not.”

Mr Gilmore said the place for negotiations was not the Dáil but around the table with the representatives of those who worked in the public services.