Pay and conditions

Sir, – Kevin Callinan of ICTU would like the workers he represents to work fewer hours but for the same pay ("Roll back working hours, say unions", News, June 22nd). In this other world, that is called a pay increase.

Mr Callinan secured a pay increase for his members last December and has his sights set on delivering a “successor agreement” which no doubt will involve further pay increases. But in the interim between these two pay increases Mr Callinan has the swell idea of securing yet another pay increase to keep his members going by reducing their hours of toil. The Public Services Committee of ICTU, which Mr Callinan chairs, believes €150million should be sufficient to pay the cost of this suggested reduction in working hours.

The additional working hours which so trouble Mr Callinan were introduced in 2013 under the terms of the Haddington Road Agreement.

That agreement provided that the additional hours were an increase in the standard working hours and that no cost-increasing claim would be made consequential on the increase in working time. It also included an explicit commitment that compulsory redundancy would not apply in the public service.


So far as I am aware the employer has honoured its side of the agreement. So what exactly is the problem?

The Department of Public Expenditure (and Reform, less we forget) should stop acting as the downtown office of the public-sector trade unions. If that department has any serious function, it must surely be to represent the interests of the taxpayer who pays for all this nonsense. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

Sir, – One of the major mantras of business over the course of the pandemic has been how much they care. They care about their customers, and staff, and their wellbeing.

Or so we’ve been incessantly told.

However, the recent clamour to get predominantly young and, more importantly, unvaccinated people back into service jobs seriously belies their earlier drum-beating. All while offering the same meagre pre-pandemic wages.

It seems to me that if many struggling businesses are to survive they need to do a lot more real caring and a lot less talking about caring. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 20.