Unions reject Varadkar remarks

 

PUBLIC SERVICE unions have dismissed a suggestion made yesterday by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar that compulsory redundancies should be provided for in any follow-up to the Croke Park agreement.

Speaking in Gdansk where he was due to attend last night’s Euro 2012 match against Spain, Mr Varadkar said the Croke Park agreement did not allow the State to “squeeze” underperforming workers from the service.

“I know they’re in a minority but they’re a problem and they ruin the whole show for everyone,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said underperforming workers caused resentment among their peers.

“And Croke Park makes it virtually impossible to make them redundant,” he said.

“Croke Park expires at the end of next year so we’ll have to start the conversation on Croke Park II quite soon,” he said.

He said the Government should be able to make public service workers redundant when it decided to close State agencies.

“Say you decide an agency isn’t necessary. You’re going to close it down. You save a bit, but not what you should be saving because you have to redeploy somebody, and then potentially redeploy them to a job that they’re not appropriate for,” he said.

Commenting on Mr Varadkar’s remarks, Minister of State for Trade Joe Costello said it was “inappropriate” for a Minister to say there should be compulsory redundancies.

Siptu vice-president Patricia King said Mr Varadkar’s commentary was “way off” and there was “no way” her union would agree to any such provision.

“We are at the mid-way point of this agreement and I’m not aware of any conversations about Croke Park II but if there were to be a second agreement it certainly wouldn’t be based on the principle of including compulsory redundancies,” she said.

Impact’s Niall Shanahan said the redeployment of workers was an “integral” feature of the Croke Park agreement that ensured the continuing provision of essential services.